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30 Years on 30A

Updated: May 19, 2018

Goatfeathers 1988

My wife Eleanor and I started as Over The Market Restaurant on may 19, 1988. We changed the name in 1989 to Goatfeathers.

Our first summer was hard enough not knowing what we were doing but were competing with restaurants that were very good at what they did. (Bud and Alleys, The Lake Place and Seagrove Market) A big day for us was $300.00, open at 11:00 am to 9:00 pm closed on wednesday. We served everything in a plastic bread basket with deli paper in it. Our featured item was a hot dog.

Because we served only 4 or 5 hot dogs the first year, so we added fried amberjack, fries, cole slaw and homemade hushpuppies which is the same recipe we serve now. We made everything from scratch such as gumbo, tartar sauce, cocktail, etc. We were very innocent, we even tried to shred our cabbage for slaw but found out that could buy it shredded from the produce company .

During the first summer we were completely shut down, I think it was 7 times when a chelco transformer would over load and explode. This always occurred on friday or saturday night.

And in 1990 a barge hit the 331 bridge and took it out. An automobile ferry was contracted that would carry 10 or 12 auto’s at a time. The trip over and back took a little over one hour. Lucky for us, there were few people in this area that were connected to Tallahassee were able to get another bridge expedited.

We were closed for at least 6 months and should not have reopened but did thinking the worst was over. This took about 2 years before we could operate normally.

Starting the third year we had a few patrons that came in enough because they felt sorry for us or did not know where the other restaurants were.

We almost made a profit that year. At the end of that summer we that we thought we were famous.

When November rolled around we served a large piece of humble pie.

The next several years, after the bridge opened, was extremely busy and we opted to double our size in 1994 but delayed until 1995.

We were doing very well but had mismanaged the business and needed to borrow money to make it through the winter, which we did our first 10 years.

Opal destruction on 30A in 1996

In 1996 we had a great spring break and summer however in late August Hurricane Opal hit and we found our business closed again due to parts of 30A were completely gone.

It took several years to regain our stability and thought we were headed in the right direction when january 3, 2000 a patron came in the restaurant we had never seen. He had too much to drink before he came in and we stopped serving him. He tried to leave and we were calling him a cab when he tripped fail and cut his eye brow on a bus cart.

Ems arrived took him out and he died at Ed Wallen Park 2 hours later.

We were sued for $7 million.

This was a long 4 years and finally settled out of court for $40.000.00 because the medical examiner ruled his death was unrelated to the cut on his eyebrow.

In 2001 we opened our Seagrove Market .

In about 2004 through 2009 there were hurricanes every year that hit our area.

Some years there would be only one or two however one year I think 6 or 7 hit or affected us. There were roads washed out as well as bridges on 30A destroyed, the beaches were gone.

These hurricanes did there share of damage however the worst thing a business had to deal with was the weather station sensationalizing the damage to our area. The exaggeration they portrayed was far more than what really happened.

On May 1, 2014 we had a record rain fall with the county having approximately 170 area’s flood, most of which were not in flood zones. Once again we had 30A wash out again 500 yds from the restaurant, the county install a temporary bridge that lasted several years until they replaced it with a permanent structure.

When we started 4 restaurants and now approximately 150 on 30A.

There a great deal of development that occurred but we have to say thank you to Sandestin, Seaside, and Water Color.

A lot of luck, subborness, and good employees, we have seen bike paths turn lanes, flashing lights, sheriff cars on the side of the road trying to control the traffic. Now we are going to have to over come traffic on 30A that is going to be very hard to control, however I really like the way that sounds.

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