Restaurateurs Amanda and John Horne are the proud owners of Oysters Rock Hospitality. The dynamic husband-wife team from Bradenton, well-known in the local hospitality industry for excellence and friendly service, are deeply involved in philanthropic efforts, serving the community they have called home for more than 40 years. 

John Horne is a 5th generation Floridian who grew up in Bartow and moved to Anna Maria Island in 1981. His career in the hospitality industry spans over four decades, starting when he was in college pursuing a Business degree at Clemson University in South Carolina. During those summers and for 10+ years, he worked at Fast Eddie’s Place on Anna Maria Island and on the West Coast of Florida and Orlando, gaining valuable experience that laid the foundation for his future endeavors. In 1995, he opened his first restaurant, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, located on the Anna Maria City Pier. Over the years, he’s earned a reputation for serving fresh, delicious seafood in a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and educated in England, Amanda Horne’s hospitality career began in hotel management in England and Northern Ireland, working in what was at the time, the most-bombed building in the world, the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Here at home, she works alongside John at Oysters Rock Hospitality to promote affordable dining and inclusivity in the community. The happy couple first met in 2006 at a fundraiser at the Anna Maria Island Community Center and they have been married for 23 years. “How is that possible?” asks John. “We count by twos because we feel we put at least 48 hours of fun into each day and we want to be married for 50 years, so by being 50 when we married, the only way to do it was to cram two years into every one!”

In 2022, a momentous change came to the well-loved Anna Maria Oyster Bar. After serving up great seafood for years, the Hornes were presented with the opportunity to acquire Sarasota’s iconic Café L’Europe. According to the couple, everything changed from this point, leading to the birth of Oysters Rock Hospitality. “Anna Maria Oyster Bar was our 25+ year-old pride and joy, loved by locals and tourists alike for its fresh seafood and friendly vibe. But adding a Sarasota staple like Cafe L’Europe to the mix took us to a whole new level. It gave us the chance to create something really special,” shares John. Under the couple’s leadership and that of their home office team, Oysters Rock Hospitality has taken off in a big way. “We have opened two new Anna Maria Oyster Bars—at UTC and at North Port—and a new venue on the Bridge Street Pier called Pier Cheer. Bringing Café L’Europe into the mix was a meaningful change, and it made us even more committed to serving delicious food with a side of our signature Five Star Fun,” he adds. The Hornes have also acquired a new brand in downtown Bradenton that has attracted a devoted following of fans with its Mediterranean-inspired Brunch menu, coffee and pastries served from a walk-up window. “Looking back, I am grateful for everyone who has been part of the journey, from our hardworking team to our loyal customers. As we keep growing, one thing is for sure—we will always be dedicated to making a difference, one oyster at a time, and with a Five Star Fun margarita in hand,” he adds.

Beyond their restaurant ventures, the Hornes share a passion for giving back and have been deeply involved in community service and philanthropy. Through their
Shuckin’ Good Cause program, the philanthropic arm of Oysters Rock Hospitality, the couple has provided financial assistance and support to the community and to employees facing various hardships or emergencies. “Shuckin’ Good Cause is our way of giving back while celebrating our love for seafood,” says John. “It is all about using our platform to make a positive impact and support causes that matter both inside our four walls and in our communities.”
Through the program, the Hornes host events, fundraisers, and special promotions to raise awareness and funds for various charitable organizations and community initiatives. “Whether it is supporting local schools, or aiding in disaster relief, we are committed to making a difference,” he adds. “At Oysters Rock Hospitality, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities they serve and this is our way of living out that belief and making a positive impact, one shuck at a time.” 

One of the flagship initiatives under Shuckin’ Good Causes is the Dive Into Reading program. This program aims to improve literacy rates among children by providing access to books and educational resources during the summer months. By partnering with schools, libraries, fellow restaurateurs and community organizations, they are able to reach children in need and help them develop critical reading skills.

“Dive Into Reading is so much fun and it is a company-wide and community-wide initiative.  It is about using what we can to help our communities’ children who are behind in reading, which is an essential life skill. Every child deserves the best start in life that we can give them,” says Amanda. When the program started eight years ago, the aim was simple—to be a part of the solution, to help children who are already behind in school from falling even further behind in their reading skills during the summer break. Working with Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading, school districts, libraries, other restaurants and groups in the community, the Hornes started a program that invited children to their restaurants, paired them with mentors, taught them basic social skills such as how to use a knife and fork and then gave them one-on-one reading time to develop their reading skills and hopefully, learn a love of reading. “We are Five Star Fun and that is what we want our children to learn about reading,” the Hornes explain. “We are so lucky to have such supportive communities, with over 350 mentors’ dedication at least one morning a week during the summer–they are the lifeblood of the program, and we are so grateful for their hearts and love for the children in our community.” Through their efforts, the Hornes have made significant strides in improving literacy levels among children, mentoring over 2,500 rising 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. Serving on and chairing the Board of Directors for PACE Center for Girls–Manatee, advocating for the educational advancement of young women, John and Amanda are also the Co-Chairs of the PACE Center for Girls $6.5 million Capital Campaign to build a new school here in Manatee County.

“Be yourself, be pleasant, play hard and have no regrets,” a quote by Jimmy Buffett is a mantra that John tries to live by. Described by his wife as ‘a shorts-wearing, margarita drinking, fun-loving, oyster and Elvis lover with the biggest heart’, he is proud to be a champion of his community.  SRQ  John and Amanda Horne were honored as Good Heroes by SRQ Magazine in December 2023.