By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
MELBOURNE -- Nestled alongside the Indian River Lagoon is Bonefish Willy's - a Brevard County staple for excellent seafood and stunning views.
Tina Quinn, owner of Bonefish Willy's purchased the restaurant in July 1999, after moving from Ohio.
"After divorcing my ex-husband, I came to Florida to do what I know best," Ms. Quinn said. "I've worked in the restaurant industry all of my life and wanted to open up my own place."
Ms. Quinn traveled up and down the Florida coastline on both the east and west coasts before settling in Melbourne.
Her nephew, whose friend lived across from the riverfront restaurant, informed Ms. Quinn when the former owners decided to sell the restaurant.
"Within days, Tina took on Bonefish Willy's," said Rorie Goynes, Ms. Quinn's sister and back-office manager. "It was meant to be."
Ms. Goynes joined her sister at Bonefish Willy's several years ago, after helping Ms. Quinn with the restaurant's books.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be helping to run a restaurant," Ms. Goynes said. "I've never served; it's something that I have never been comfortable with, as I prefer numbers."
Ms. Goynes said that joining her sister has been a good fit, for both her and the business.
"Tina is very creative when it comes to marketing, advertisements and getting everything together," Ms. Goynes said. "She can look in a room and say, 'This will fit.'"
The two sisters acknowledge that they are complete opposites, yet they make a great team.
"We have each other's best interest at heart," Ms. Goynes added.
Legend has it that the restaurant, which sits at mile marker No. 101, was named after a bonefish fisherman named Willy. While the sisters do not know the true origin of the story, Ms. Quinn decided to keep the name of the restaurant as Bonefish Willy's for easy recognition.
Bonefish Willy's offers a wide range of mouthwatering seafood options, with specials each weekend. There is a fish fry each Friday, which runs all day, as well as a whole Maine lobster, clam, mussel and shrimp boil each Sunday.
"I'm a little picky when it comes to fish," Ms. Goynes said. "But I love grouper because it's a very mild, white, flaky fish. My favorite dish is our Grouper Bruschetta."
The Grouper Bruschetta, which was created by Ms. Quinn, features a large filet of Parmesan-encrusted grouper, topped with bruschetta and tomatoes, with mozzarella. The fish is baked until crispy and placed on top of a bed of angel hair pasta.
"I love our jerked seasoned mahi, as well as our crab cakes and conch fritters," Ms. Quin said. "We make them fresh each day."
One of the most important things about her business, Ms. Quinn said, is that Bonefish Willy's offers "real food."
"What I mean by 'real food' is that we make our dressings and sauces from scratch," Ms. Quinn explained. "They aren't out of a bag."
The food prepared by the chefs at Bonefish Willy's is prepared the way Ms. Quinn sees fit.
"I have had employees say that we should do something this way, which gets away from the real food that I want to provide," Ms. Quinn said. "No, we aren't going to do that. I keep it real, as best as I can."
Bonefish Willy's also offers vegetarian and gluten-free meals for its customers, as long as the server is made aware.
"We have enough product here that we can change our recipes to cater to people's dietary needs," Ms. Quinn said. "We can redesign."
Although running her own restaurant can be challenging, Ms. Quinn, as well as Ms. Goynes, said they are pleased at the end of each business day.
"The biggest reward is the challenge, because, at the end of the day, you have a sense of accomplishment, regardless of what you had to do," Ms. Goynes said.
Bonefish Willy's is located at 2459 Pineapple Ave., Melbourne.
Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit www.BonefishWillys.com or call (321) 253-8888.