By Tammy Roberts
Armed with paint rollers, brushes and stepstools, more than a dozen community volunteers spent their weekend at one of Melbourne Beach's most beloved restaurants, Beach Street Eatery.
On June 13 and 14, these individuals, representing various local organizations and businesses, added a fresh coat of paint to the longstanding restaurant, as a way to thank owner, Susie Daly, for years of support.
"Susie does so much for the town, so we wanted to come together and do something nice for her," said Melbourne Beach resident Kathy Emerson. "When we found out about her vision for this place, we decided to help her make it a reality."
Ms. Daly first opened Beach Street Eatery in Indialantic in 2001, but she was forced to close down after damages from the 2004 hurricanes.
After spending the next two years as a catering manager at Florida Tech, she realized her true passion was as a restaurant owner. In 2006, she purchased what was formerly Mario's Italian Restaurant in Melbourne Beach and transformed it into the new Beach Street Eatery.
"I had envisioned making over the place when we first moved in, but always had so much going on," Ms. Daly said. "I am so humbled and so grateful for all of these people volunteering their time to make this a reality. It's truly an amazing thing."
For years, Beach Street Eatery has served as a regular meeting place for bridge groups, Bunko groups, the New Neighbors of South Brevard and the Rotary Club of Melbourne Beach.
Ms. Daly is known for participating in numerous town activities and events and has participated every year in the town's Crazy, Crazy Bed Race and Mr. Rufus Recycle Regatta.
"Being a part of my community is something extremely important to me," she said.
Ms. Emerson, along with fellow Melbourne Beach residents Francie Nealon, Barbara Struttmann and Ed Struttman, enlisted the help of the community to assist with the project.
In addition to restaurant staff and customers, members of the Rotary Club of Melbourne Beach, Knights of Columbus of Holy Name of Jesus, Melbourne Beach Chapel and Pineapple Manor volunteered their time.
Volunteers spent hours painting the interior of the venue - which resembled more of an Italian-style restaurant - with mango and teal walls, giving it a brighter, beachy Key West-style atmosphere.
All paint and supplies for the project was donated by Mr. Struttmann's business, Ace Hardware of Indialantic.
"This has been a real testament to the community to see all these people come together without hesitation," Mr. Struttmann said. "Melbourne Beach has so many few businesses, so it's important that we support them through thick and thin in any way we can."
Ms. Daly, who spent both days planning and painting herself, said she would be forever grateful to everyone who helped make her vision come to life.
"I want Beach Street Eatery to be synonymous with the Melbourne Beach community," she said. "I want all my customers to walk in and feel right at home. This is their place."