THE ISLANDS OF CAPRI
The large sailboat was raised after Hurricane Jan brought it within inches of the restaurant. Surprisingly, this moment is bitter for the owners of the restaurant on the island of Capri. The boat became a symbol that attracted customers.
This is an unlikely love story between a boat and the people of the Isles of Capri. After the hurricane, the sailboat blocked part of the beautiful view of the coast of the Capri Fish House.
At first, it was an unpleasant reminder that turned into a symbol of the restaurant’s resilience and adaptability.
Capri Fish House’s outdoor dining area was submerged during the hurricane. The next day, “Panic. Oh, no, not again,” said Michael Castellano, owner of Capri Fish House. “A lot of mud. A lot of water damage. The inside bar is flipping over to the other side. The sand was thrown up.”
For owners Teresa and Michael Castellano, the damage meant an indefinite period of time with no money coming in.
Another nasty surprise was when their old sailboat washed up a few inches from the outdoor dining area.
“And at the very end of the storm, the rope broke and she found her way home and she didn’t have anything, as you can see, it went through the screen, the nose went through the screen,” said Michael Castellano.
“I hated it,” Teresa Castellano said.
Then something magical happened. “So, right after that, my daughter was like, ‘Wow, we have to put a light on this. It’s really cool.” So she went and put on the light, Teresa said.
When people returned to the restaurant six weeks after the storm, they left messages right on the boat, such as: “We survived Capri dinner after Ian” and “FU Ian.”
“I have all kinds of pictures of the damage and the boat and it’s pretty cool. You know, it became an attraction,” said Teresa.
Wednesday was bittersweet for the Castellans. Collier County is here to pick up a new restaurant landmark.
“It became kind of touristy [attraction]. People are talking about it. So as far as I’m concerned, I’d like to see it stay,” Michael said.
“We got used to it. We love it. Now we love it,” Teresa said.
The Castellanos hope to return parts of this boat along with all the funny and cute messages left by customers.
While the boat may have sailed, it will forever remain in their hearts at Capri Fish House.