The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 11 - December 26, 2012


Caribbean flair at Banana Cabana

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Louise Bolger | Sun
P.J., Chris and Sheryl Smargisso are celebrating their
one-year anniversary at Banana Cabana

There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, and they all have that special relaxed let’s-just-hang- out attitude. Anna Maria Island has its own version of the Caribbean style in thriving Bradenton Beach, within walking distance of everything.

When Chris and Sheryl Smargisso started vacationing in Anna Maria more than 10 years ago from New Jersey, they knew it wouldn’t be long before the Island lifestyle became a permanent part of their lives. Last year, they made it official, deciding to live full time in their vacation home and open a business with their son, P.J. Smargisso.

Since P.J. was already working as a chef on Anna Maria and had six years of experience in New Jersey the natural business was for them to buy a restaurant that the whole family could be involved in. When Banana Cabana became available they couldn’t resist the combination of Caribbean flair and great sunsets from the beach view across Gulf Drive.

This month they will be celebrating their one-year anniversary as owners of Banana Cabana, as well as the one-year anniversary of reinventing themselves.

Banana Cabana has had some significant changes since the Smargisso’s have been owners while still keeping the Caribbean feel that everyone loves. The inside has been updated with artwork on the walls by local artists, painted chairs, the addition of 3 TVs and free WiFi, and most important of all, a new menu and bar choices.

The appetizer choices alone will make you long for the Caribbean Sea with conch fritters, shrimp and grits, yellowfin tuna and the newest addition of Gator Swamp chili. Entrees include crab cakes, macadamia nut encrusted grouper, ribs, curry and paella. They also boast the only place on the Island that has alligator ribs and tacos. There are salads and sandwiches including burgers, grouper, jerk chicken and daily specials. Also, there is a separate lunch menu with many of the same items that are on the dinner menu, a children’s menu and desserts like fried banana macadamia.

Banana Cabana offers beer, wine and specialty drinks featuring six beers on draft and 24 varieties in bottles. Happy hour is every day from noon to 6 p.m. with $2.50 drinks and beer, $1 hot dogs and $5 burgers, and between 3 and 6 p.m. you can get 50 cent wings.

Banana Cabana has entertainment four days a week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with open mic on Sunday afternoons and local artists coming in with their easels and brushes. They are happy to host private parties and have catering and take out available. Watch for their wing eating contest at the end of January.

New Year’s Eve will be special at Banana Cabana where you will have a bird’s eye view of the fireworks and enjoy music by Doug Bidwell. There will be a special menu and reservations are a must. Don’t forget that the Island trolley stops right in front, so getting there is never a problem.

Chris, Sheryl and P.J. Smargisso want their Banana Cabana to be a local hang out and invite people to come in and stay as long as they want. Banana Cabana has Caribbean style and island attitude in convenient Bradenton Beach. Make it your neighborhood favorite.


103 Gulf Drive
Bradenton Beach
941-779-1930 Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: Noon to 9 p.m.
Monday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday:
Noon to 11 p.m. All major credit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Preparing for potentially higher tax rates

Investment Corner

The end of one year, the start of a new one is traditionally a time to reflect and also to look forward to new opportunities. As 2012 comes to a close, I am struck by the generally negative tone of the people we meet and talk to about the state of the economy and the prospects for things to improve, despite evidence that the economy is growing and has been gaining momentum recently. Of course, many are obsessed about what might happen with tax rates on both ordinary income and investment related activity.

Recently, at lunch with a very nice couple, the wife exclaimed it would be impossible for the economy to grow if taxes went up. I continued munching my salad, avoiding the temptation to point out that for much of the last 60 years, we had income tax rates significantly higher than we do today and that the economy managed to grow pretty well during most of that time. We also managed to put a man on the moon and to enjoy the most wonderful period of technological advancement and growth in life expectancy ever.

For higher income investors, it is a realistic expectation that tax rates will go up on our investment related gains and income. But as pointed out previously, we have observed rising stock markets and economic growth with much higher tax rates in past times. Having a strategy in place can allow you to minimize the tax bite no matter where rates end up.

Minimizing the number of transactions and increasing the duration of your holding period of assets in non-qualified accounts is a great way to reduce the tax bite anytime, but in particular if tax rates on dividends and capital gains rise. If you are pursuing any sort of short-term trading tactics, it would be best to do so in qualified accounts (like IRAs) not subject to capital gains. This has always been true, but again, has more meaning if rates rise on investment related activity.

So, try thinking of yourself as an owner of a business for the long-term when selecting stocks, rather than trying to trade every time the price rises a few percent and hoping to buy the same company back after the price falls. Simply mimicking the behavior of some of the more successful investors (Warren Buffett, for example) by owning good quality companies with an eye toward their potential value in the future and collecting a growing dividend stream along the way has proven in the past to be a tax friendly and successful approach.

Master limited partnerships (MLPs) are a form of corporate structure for companies which are in the business of transporting energy products like oil and natural gas. The high level of profit distributions (6 percent or higher is not uncommon) these firms share with their owners can be largely tax-deferred until the shares are sold at some point in the future. MLPs also provide the potential for growth of value in addition to the aforementioned tax-managed income. Like stocks, MLPs can fluctuate significantly in value, so a prudent plan for portfolio diversification is important.

Of course, municipal bonds pay tax-free income which may become more attractive if tax rates rise. One word of caution though. Like most bonds, municipals may experience temporary declines in value if interest rates rise. Values recover as the bonds' maturity date approaches, but if the investor were forced to sell for some reason before maturity, the risk of loss exists.

I don't believe we need to panic over potentially higher tax rates, but rather, spend our energy on doing what we can to minimize how the higher rates affect us. Have a great and successful 2013.

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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