For Robert and Anita Breinig, the Flash Beach Grille is more than a building.
The Hobe Sound seafood restaurant and catering business is the culmination of years of hard work, and represents their slice of the American Dream.
“We started as a mobile caterer. We used garages as kitchens for home parties,” Robert Breinig told Watchdog.org.
But after 17 years of sweat in the food service industry, the couple’s dream has taken a nightmarish turn.
The owners of Flash Beach Grille are locked in a land dispute with Martin County public officials over a seemingly insignificant 40-by-70 foot area behind the restaurant. But it’s no small fight. The outcome has the potential to affect property values, environmentally protected areas and the local title insurance market — not to mention put the Breinigs out of business.
In 2011, the small business entrepreneurs moved from a nearby storefront rental space — once a defunct pizzeria adjacent to a liquor store — to their current location at 9126 S.E. Bridge Road.
Inspired after a successful string of Monday night menu tastings, the couple decided to expand into the restaurant business. They moved into the now larger stand-alone building and were excited to buy it, rather than lease.
“We thought we had purchased enough space to continue to grow the business,” said Breinig. “Cover in the front, kitchen out the back.”
“Visit us at our new location,” their website still reads.
After more than a year at the new spot, the Breinigs applied for a liquor license. As required, a county investigator performed a site inspection.
Several days later, the couple received a surprise.
By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog
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