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  • Pensacola News Journal

    Pensacola top stories: A Rustyc Spoon closes, Pensacola ranked a 'best city' and more

    By Brandon Girod, Pensacola News Journal,

    28 days ago

    Here's a roundup of our

    from the past week.

    With a subscription to the Pensacola News Journal, you will receive full access to the work done by our journalists and photographers as they head out every day to help inform and explain the important issues affecting your community.

    Cottage Cafe celebrates 20 years in downtown Pensacola

    Not even a half mile away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Pensacola’s Palafox Street is a place where time slows, and the small joys of life are savored.

    Ice-cold mason jars are filled with blackberry lemonade. Fresh grown flowers fill the backsplash of Cottage Café’s patio. Friends gather over fresh green salads, curry chicken salad and homemade quiche.

    “We’ll have ladies come in here and spend the afternoon,” said Chuck Major, who owns the place with his wife of over 30 years, Barbee Major. “They’ll come in at 11 o’clock and stay up ‘til 2 p.m. We’ll get groups like the ‘red hat ladies’ and teacher associations and just all kinds of different groups that will come."

    It’s one of the easier places in town to accidentally stay past closing time, since the small café, based out of a former carriage house at 203 W. Gregory St., is only open three hours for lunch on Monday through Friday. Even so, the café staff celebrated their 20-year anniversary this month the best way they knew how: with a few extra slices of their irresistible St. Louis-style gooey butter cake.

    Full story:This downtown Pensacola lunch spot is 20 years old and still one of Pensacola's hidden gems

    Pensacola ranks No. 31 on U.S. News & World Report's 'Best city' list

    Florida is back on top after several cities made U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of Best Places to Live in the U.S., including the No. 1 ranked city — Naples.

    Sarasota was the highest-rated Florida city last year at No. 5, but this year it fell down to No. 11. There were 11 other cities that made it to the list, including Pensacola, which was the third-highest ranked Florida city on the list at No. 31.

    Here’s a look at how Florida cities ranked on the list.

    Full story:A Rustyc Spoon restaurant says goodbye to Pensacola

    Neighbors say Pensacola Beach couple is shooing away shorebirds. It's ruffling feathers.

    Michelle Baker lives on Pensacola Beach and walks the shore almost every day. Last year, she and other residents were excited to see endangered least terns and black skimmers nesting near the dunes for the first time in a long time.

    The area includes a swath of public beach parallel to the 800 block of Ariola Drive.

    The Audubon Society of Florida cordoned off the area so people would not harm or disturb the endangered animals during their three-month nesting season.

    “There was about a hundred birds here last year, and a lot of us, as neighbors, are very excited about it,” said Baker, who is a volunteer steward with the Florida Audubon Society. “There were a few neighbors right here close to the area, they were not happy about it. I watched it every day as being one of the stewards. It was very apparent and obvious they had to go around (from their house to get to the beach) and they wanted to have just direct beach access. That's what it appeared to be.”

    Full story:Neighbors say Pensacola Beach couple is shooing away shorebirds. It's ruffling feathers.

    Developers drop plans to build 159-home subdivision off Hickory Hammock Road in East Milton

    Richard Steele and Aaron Davis, the men behind a proposal to build a 159-home subdivision on 73 acres at the East Milton intersection of Hickory Hammock Road and Carl Booker Road, abutting Fortune Road, have withdrawn their request for the rezoning that would have made it possible.

    The decision not to take their request to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners when they convene Thursday for a special rezoning meeting followed a unanimous May 9 decision by the county's Zoning Board to recommend the application be rejected.

    Beckie Cato, who represented the applicants, provided no rationale for the developers' decision in a one-sentence email to county Planning Director Shawn Ward in which she requested the application be rescinded.

    Full story:Developers drop plans to build 159-home subdivision off Hickory Hammock Road in East Milton

    A Rustyc Spoon restaurant says goodbye to Pensacola

    A Rustyc Spoon at 2500 Oak Pointe Drive is saying a heartfelt goodbye to Pensacola as of May 31.

    A Rustyc Spoon, owned and operated by Pensacola chef Rusty Strain, started out as a popular elevated street food truck outside of Pensacola’s Emerald Republic Brewing in 2022 and transitioned into a more upscale sit-down restaurant inside of Marcus Pointe Golf Club in fall of 2023.

    Strain took to Facebook Monday to announce the restaurant would be closing by the month's end. The post received over 500 responses from the Pensacola community, many wishing Strain well in his next chapter.

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