ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla — Work is finally happening on the restaurant that is replacing an iconic eatery in St. Augustine.
The Santa Maria drew people to the old city’s bay front for decades. Now, seven years after it was sold, the new restaurant is taking shape.
Since the 1950s, the Santa Maria Restaurant was a place for tourists and locals to eat – at the end of a dock – just south of the Bridge of Lions.
Before that, it was Corbett’s Fish and Oyster Depot.
In 2015, the Santa Maria owners sold the rickety building that stood on a ramshackle dock.
The White family of St. Augustine bought it.
Co-owner Julie White told First Coast News Monday that city permitting issues, COVID, staff shortages, and now supply chain issues have slowed the building process.
Seven years later, a stronger dock and platform are up, and the first floor is underway for the soon-to-be The Wharf Restaurant.
A floating dock will extend out east of the restaurant for boats.
However, large commercial boats next door at the city’s marina have criticized the restaurant plans, saying getting in and out around the new floating dock will be tricky.
Monday, First Coast News cameras were rolling as the Black Raven pirate ship – the largest boat on this side of the marina – pulled out, threaded the needle between the marina and the new restaurant, and made a sharp turn to avoid it.
It worked. We’ll see what happens when The Wharf’s new floating dock is in place.
White says there is no definite date for the restaurant's opening.