Family-owned Robbie's optimistic about future after Hurricane Irma

General manager says dock pilings intact after Irma's wrath

ISLAMORADA, Fla. – On any given hot Florida Keys day, patrons at Robbie's would be sitting by the bay, cocktails in hand, or lying down on the docks feeding tarpon. But that's not how the family-owned business in Islamorada looks today.

"We were very, very concerned," general manager Cailin Reckwerdt told Local 10 News after Hurricane Irma. "When we came over that bridge for the first time as a family, we were relieved to see what was left."

Like most businesses, Robbie's sustained damage from Irma's wrath. In this case, the strong winds blew off each and every dock. The docks were used by tourists and locals to hang bait out by the water and wait for giant tarpon.

But the strong-willed family is hard at work to rebuild the docks. Reckwerdt said there is a silver lining.

"The pilings are intact, which makes building the docks much easier," she said.

Robbie's was founded in the 1970s and has been a staple in Islamorada.

"We have such a love for this place, and yes, my grandpa started it," Reckwerdt said. "I want to let that legacy live on."

The property lost most of its trees that once offered cool shade under a hot sun. One thing Robbie's didn't lose is the tarpon, which have already been spotted near the docks.

Besides the docks, most of Robbie's fared well. The roof is still intact and so too, surprisingly, is some of the money patrons have stapled to the wooden structure through the years.

One such dollar bill signifies a couple's first date and then their marriage, perhaps a sign that Irma is no match for everlasting resilience.

Robbie's is expected to reopen in a little over a month.

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