Owners of Beach Bistro sell Anna Maria Island restaurant staple. ‘We made some magic.’

·2 min read

A change is coming to Beach Bistro, a fine dining, award-winning restaurant for more than 36 years on Anna Maria Island.

Owner Sean Murphy announced in his newsletter Thursday that he and co-owner Susan Timmins are stepping aside to focus on The Doctor’s Office craft cocktail bar and the adjacent event space, The Doctor’s Garden.

“Oh the seasons we’ve had here at the Bistro,” Murphy said in the newsletter.

In his more than 30 years running Beach Bistro, Murphy has been an institution based on his warm hospitality, high standards and culinary excellence.

“We’ve always maintained that the credit for the Bistro’s exceptionalism belongs to the Bistro Team, the incredible people who have worked with us. It has been an honor to work in their company,” he said in the newsletter.

“We have a long history, a great tradition, of incredibly talented culinarians. We feel strongly that the great team running the Bistro now is one of our finest.

“Which is why we feel it is the right time for us to step aside, and to take pleasure in watching this special little place continue to soar without us.

“The Bistro staff will do an excellent job of carrying on the Bistro tradition. The people who made it great will continue to make it great,” Murphy said.

“We want to extend sincere thanks to all of the marvelous guests who have shared their life events, special moments, and friendship with us, and for making it possible for us to be here all these years. Together, we made some magic,” he said.

The Bradenton Herald was unable to reach Murphy for further comment on who will take over the restaurant.

Beach Bistro was closed for seven months after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020 as the owners retrofitted the restaurant to make it safer for staff and guests.

Added were HEPA filtration, ultraviolet light and ionization treatment, and an upgraded air handling system to provide continuous and rapid replacement of indoor air with fresh air from outdoors.

Murphy also reduced seating indoor from 60 seats to 32, while offering 16 tables on the sand outside overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Murphy, who is as creative with his words as his food said at the time: “We have been celebrating great food and great service. Now we are also celebrating great air.”

In July 2021, the Beach Bistro took another step, requiring customers to be vaccinated.

Asked how the restaurant would verify patron vaccinations, Timmins responded in an email: “We’re going with trusting their word. As you know, we’re not able to ask for concrete proof in Florida right now.”

Sean Murphy, shown in 2020, reopened Beach Bistro, 6600 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, seven months after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Murphy spent thousands of dollars to install anti-virus air handling and filtration systems to safely provide fine dining indoors or on the sand.
Sean Murphy, shown in 2020, reopened Beach Bistro, 6600 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, seven months after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Murphy spent thousands of dollars to install anti-virus air handling and filtration systems to safely provide fine dining indoors or on the sand.
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