Siesta Key Oyster Bar removes $14K from walls to donate to Hurricane Dorian relief in Bahamas

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – There has been a long-standing tradition at Siesta Key Oyster Bar in Sarasota.

For years, it has been a custom that patrons write a message on a dollar bill and staple it to the wall or ceiling before they leave.

Now, thousands of dollars later, the unique décor is coming down and going to Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas.

“We did see the videos and the news and it was traumatic for everyone. We just thought that could have happened to anyone and we took a personal effect on it,” assistant general manager Samantha Lemmer said.

So far, Siesta Key Oyster Bar employees have carefully removed close to $14,000. Lemmer hopes they ultimately will collect a total of $15,000 for the hurricane victims in the Bahamas. 

“About five years ago, we donated to about five different local charities and we knew it was about time to take them down again once this tragedy happened. We knew it was a good cause,” said Lemmer.

The Siesta Key Oyster Bar originally had customers staple dollar bills to the restaurant’s interior in honor of an old fisherman’s tale. 

“It’s an old fisherman’s tale that they would come to their local pub, they would hang up a dollar and when they would go to sea, if they didn’t make any money, they would come back and have a dollar if they wanted to buy a beer.” 

Since word spread about the oyster bar’s latest cause, customers have been coming in and giving $5, $10 or $20 donations.

“We are all shocked how it’s still hanging on the walls,” said Lemmer.

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