When the wonderful staff here at the Beachside Resident told me that this issue was going to be the “Food Issue,” I stopped and thought about how the food industry has been in my life. Well, first of all, when people would ask me how I got to Cocoa Beach, my reply was always “Highway 79.” That was because that road went right thru my Mom & Dad’s restaurant Sarby’s, named after a combo of their names Sam & Barbara. So we packed up the station wagon and went back to where my Mom and Dad honeymooned, COCOA BEACH! The first Sarby’s we opened up was just north of the pier next to the Dunkin Donuts (Which was not there). Times were tough because the Apollo program had shut down. My Mom cooked a mean red sauce and my Dad stole the idea from KFC that we would serve a bucket of spaghetti and meatballs in a bucket. We moved from there and took over the snack bar on the pier. That is where I learned to surf and shark fish, and those were good times. We finally made it downtown in the mid to later 70’s when we opened up the Sausage Hut. It really was the only show downtown other than Key West Taco and Jonathon’s. My sisters Cathy and Susie, and my brother Mark also worked; it truly was a family business.
The downside to being in high school and working in your family’s deli is that you had to serve your friends. Nothing like getting an empty drink cup shaking from one of your friends who wanted a refill. The upside was that I had a key, so many nights me and my friends would make a pizza and put a few cold ones in the icemaker. How many people reading this remember the after school special? A half a sub, a bag a chips and drink for $1.25. So, how did we get into real estate? Well, my Mom got her license and started doing pretty well but she would always have to leave work and come to the Deli. After a few years, she came home one night from the office and my Dad asked her sarcastically if she sold anything that day? She said, “yes, in fact I made a big sale!” He asked what she sold and she replied that she sold the Sausage Hut and signed his name on the contract. She told him that he would not have to work and she was going to open up her own real estate office. So I continued on in the real estate field and my brother Mark has two restaurants up in Boston; so, that’s my food story now… go out and enjoy the many great places we have downtown.
Steve Romano founder of Wake up Cocoa Beach