The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 33 - May 18, 2011


Enjoy the view and the food at Bridge Tender Inn

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Sue Shinka is the manager of the Bridge Tender Inn, which
was built as the Bayside Inn before the first bridge to
the Island was built in 1922.

Why is it that food always tastes better when eaten near the water? Is it the food, is it the view or is it the relaxed tranquility we seem to get lulled into. Whatever the reason, The Bridge Tender Inn on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach has been making sure their customers are relaxed and tranquil for more than 24 years.

In 1917, Bradenton Beach was nothing more than a small settlement of hearty folks living near the water. One of these first settlers started the area's first commercial enterprise by building the Bayside Inn, which eventually became today's Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar.

In 1922, when the first wooden bridge was built to the Island, it ended at the doorstep of the Bayside Inn, the hub of Bradenton Beach. Decorating the walls of the main dining room at the Bridge Tender are pictures of those early days donated by customers throughout the years, enhancing the nautical theme.

Although Bridge Street has evolved through the years with the addition of new buildings, shops and pier renovations, the one thing on the street that hasn't changed in more than two decades is the Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar. The establishment still offers the same high quality fresh food that keeps locals, and what Manager Sue Shinka calls vacationing locals, coming back year after year.

General Manager Johnny Maschino credits the Bridge Tender's long-term, consistent staff as part of the restaurant's popularity. He, Sue Shinka, Chef Marcus Vega and most of their wait staff all have more than 10 years with the Inn. Returning customers frequently ask to be seated at their favorite waiter or waitress' table.

The Bridge Tender's menu encompasses everything from light bites like grouper fingers, mussels and coconut shrimp, to complete dinner specials and entrees including beef, chicken and Fish Your Way, where you choose your fish and how you would like it prepared with one of the Bridge Tender's signature sauces. There are also sandwiches for lunch and dinner, side dishes, soups and salads, pasta and a kids' menu. Prices are moderate and everything on the menu is available in either the main dining room or in the Dockside Bar.

And speaking of the Dockside Bar, it's a hopping place seven days a week with entertainment by local performers like Doug Bidwell, Larry Stokes and Larry Rich, as well as big screen TVs for sporting events. Of course the whole point of having a Dockside Bar is to be able to bring your boat right up to the dock.

The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar invites boaters to come by sea where they will find two docks available for their vessels. Just turn at Intracoastal Marker 49 and follow the channel markers in. Remember not to boat too close to the end of the pier because it usually is jammed with fishermen. And if you're coming by land, the Bridge Tender has ample parking on its premises.

Johnny Maschino says the secret to the Bridge Tender's success is not that complicated, "Good food, good product, and good bang for the buck." That combined with a Dockside water view that puts us under the spell of the sea and the salty air makes for a delicious and irreplaceable dining experience.

Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside BAR
135 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach


11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Friday & Saturday
11:30 a.m. to midnight

All major credit cards accepted


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Inner workings of immediate annuities

Investment Corner

Sales of annuities tend to increase after periods of financial uncertainty. So, even though the last couple years have been pretty good for stock and bond markets, the impact of the last decade where there were two major stock market declines, a real estate bubble burst and a full scale financial crisis, investors still like the sound of the word guaranty.

An immediate annuity is a contract with an insurance company. You give them a lump sum of cash, which is immediately annuitized into a stream of income. The income is usually a monthly payment and the amount is based on your age, the term over which you wish to receive the income and additional factors like whether or not you want your beneficiaries to continue to receive the income for a limited time if you die early in the contract period.

The first and most important factor you should understand is that when you annuitize the cash value of any annuity, you have given up your right to that cash value in exchange for the promise of the income payments specified in the contract. So, your heirs receive no portion of the cash value in question, unless you protect them with a beneficiary income benefit, which reduces the monthly annuity payment you receive during your lifetime. is an easy to use website which shows quickly the amount of monthly income you can receive from immediate annuities with varying characteristics. I ran a scenario for a 68-year-old female investing $100,000 and the system showed $625 a month ($7,500 per year) without any protection for beneficiaries. So, this initially sounds attractive, equating to about a 7.5 percent annual return on your capital with the promise of the insurance company to pay, as long as they are in business or until the benefit period runs out.

When does the benefit period run out? That depends on how long you want to receive the benefits. If it is a lifetime benefit period, then it continues until you die. If you die two years into the contract, then the insurance company still gets to keep the initial $100,000 payment and no longer has to pay the monthly benefits, unless you provided for your beneficiaries to receive the benefits for a certain period of time. Of course, adding in any form of protection for your beneficiaries reduces the month benefit that both you and they ultimately receive.

Let's look at the math from a different angle. The average female has a life expectancy of about 83 years. So if you purchased one of these annuities at age 68 you would expect to receive the income for about 15 years. Live longer and you gain more benefit. But using the averages we can see that the insurance company will pay out 15 years worth of $7500 or about $112,500 in our example. I'm not an insurance guy, but it looks to me like they are basically borrowing your $100,000, investing it over 15 years, keeping most of the profit and giving you about $12,500 back over the 15 years as your share of the profit.

The results can vary, with the insurance company benefitting if you die before the life expectancy table indicates is probable and you benefitting if you live longer. I believe you must really value the concept of the guaranteed backing of the insurance company to make an annuity the right decision. Even a conservative investment plan investing that $100,000 and earning 5 percent over time would be able to provide $7,500 of annual income for 15 years and still have about half of the original principal value left. Higher returns may be reasonably achieved with a proper asset allocation plan.

The concept of having money left when you die is also a big decision point for some. Keep in mind that if you annuitize, the principal value of the money becomes the property of the insurance company, and your heirs receive nothing. Some annuities have some benefit riders which may provide some benefit to your heirs, but the cost of these riders is a reduction in the income the annuity pays you while you're alive. Also, the promised annuity income steam is not adjusted for inflation (unless you buy that rider as well), where an on-going investment plan may provide enough return to increase the cash flow each year as costs generally rise.

Summary: annuities may be a good financial planning tool for those who want the guaranty of a particular income stream and for those which leaving assets to heirs or having the money available for other purposes is not a priority. For others, I suggest doing what the insurance company does with your money after you annuitize and they start sending you the monthly income – invest it in a diversified portfolio, pay yourself the income and have the principal available for use at your discretion, or by your heirs.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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