A veteran of Manatee County’s hospitality industry for nearly 40 years, John Horne began his career working summers at Fast Eddie’s Place while completing his Business Degree at Clemson University. He opened his own restaurant, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, on the City Pier in Anna Maria, FL in 1995. Four more restaurants followed and the AMOBs have become a well-known place to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood at a great value, served by a team of wonderful staff in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
Horne and his 358 co-workers have garnered many accolades over the years. From Small Business of the Year from Manatee, Sarasota, and Longboat Key Chambers of Commerce… to Spirit of Manatee Volunteer of the Year and Corporate Spirit Award… to more than 70 People’s Choice Favorites from local newspaper readers… Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Initial Champion of Tourism Award… followed two years later by the Tourism Ambassador Award… and the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club’s Small Businessperson of the Year Award. In 2019 the AMOB received the Leadership Florida Impact Award for Dive Into Reading, it is awarded to a business or nonprofit organization that has created a specific project or body of work whose impact is currently transforming the future of its region or beyond and has the potential to transform Florida as a whole. AMOB also received the Bradenton Kiwanis Bert South Award, awarded annually by the Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation to honor an individual, family, or group who best reflects the Foundation’s philanthropic values, for Dive Into Reading. Most near to John’s heart, though, was in 2018 when the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation presented the Anna Maria Oyster Bars with its annual Restaurant Neighbor Award in Washington, DC.
John is very active outside of his restaurants as well. He has participated in and served on boards including State College of Florida Board of Trustees, City of Bradenton Beach CRA, Manatee Chamber of Commerce (Chair), AMI Community Center (Exec Committee), PACE Center for Girls Capital Campaign Co-Chair, American Cancer Society, Manatee EDC (Executive Board), Advisory Board of the Culinary Program at Manatee Technical Institute (Chairman), Advisory Board for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Hospitality and Information Technology, Leadership Florida (State Board of Directors, Regional Council Chair, Co-Chair of Annual Meeting), Leadership Manatee Alumni Association Board, and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Suncoast Chapter President & Treasurer, as well as the State Executive Board.
John is married to Amanda Horne, who shares his passion for improving education in their community. They hosted an annual golf tournament for 11 years raising over $600,000… open their home frequently to fundraisers for PACE Center for Girls, Women’s Resource Center, and Cancer Support Center among others… they firmly believe in collaboration with others and in 2013 year joined forces with another local couple (Stewart & Trudy Moon) to host a new fundraiser, The Horne & Moon Scholarship Social. In only five years, this event raised over $500,000 to help adult students return to school at Manatee Technical College, State College of Florida and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
In 2017, John and Amanda piloted the Dive Into Reading summer reading program at the Ellenton AMOB, in partnership with the Manatee County School District and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to help improve our children’s reading levels and combat the “summer slide.” Now in its third year, Dive Into Reading has expanded with five locations serving Title I elementary schools in Manatee County and more than 370 rising 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders, along with 354 volunteer mentors… In 2019 the Sarasota School District piloted the program and there are talks to expand the program into three other counties in 2020.
PACE Center for Girls of Manatee is a school that is near and dear to both his heart and the 300 plus AMOB employees who volunteer and help raise funds for the school.
- All four restaurants sell “ducks” for the PACE annual fundraiser, and staff volunteer with race preparation and activities – last year all 15,000 ducks were sold resulting in a record-breaking fundraising event for PACE and this year they are aiming to sell and race 20,000 ducks.
- Students visit the restaurants on educational field trips to learn about the industry and what employment opportunities look like
- Kitchen managers teach students how to make healthy, affordable meals to feed themselves and their families
- Each of the four restaurants will be delivering meals to the 54 girls this summer – PACE is a year-round school with the majority of students on the free or reduced lunch program, and the school district does not supply meals during the summer
- Donations of wine, food & gift certificates to help with fundraising activities, including hosting the main fundraiser at both the restaurants and his home
- Co-chairing the upcoming Capital Campaign
- Facilitating partnerships within the business community & higher education institutions – such as the use of the USF Culinary Innovation Lab
- Both personally and through the AMOB’s John has donated over $190,000 to PACE Center for Girls
But John and his awesome crew’s efforts do not stop with PACE, as evidenced with receiving the 2015 Manatee Chamber Foundation’s Business & Education Partnership Award as “Partner in Excellence”.
This honor is bestowed upon the partner that has typified the mission of the Manatee Partnership Program through active and exemplary accomplishment of the various ‘levels’ of participation. For John and the AMOB’s this has included:
- Partnering with schools local to each of the restaurants, helping them with projects, fundraisers and student incentives
- Hosting the entire staff annually – from Principal to janitor – to a Christmas Dinner/Party at each of the three locations, cooked and served by volunteer staff members
- Providing five annual $1,000 scholarships to students through the Manatee Education Foundation
- Sponsoring and providing lunch for all the players and volunteers at the annual Bill Galvano Golf Tournament that raises scholarship funds for the Manatee Education Foundation
- Donating gift certificates annually for 60 Judges plus volunteers for the Bradenton Herald ‘Golden Herald Awards’.
- John and his staff are currently working on a 3rd Grade Level Reading program for the summer to be incubated at his Ellenton location – providing lunch and reading skills for local children during the summer with staff & guest volunteers. This program will touch over 100 children during the summer.
John loves to see his staff learn, and after graduating from the Leadership Manatee program in 2008 he has encouraged any staff member who wishes to go through the program to do so with a full sponsorship from the AMOB – to date seven have graduated. His involvement has continued and he hosts the Alumni Association board retreat and hosts each incoming class to a breakfast and a dinner…This year John was the recipient of the Leadership Manatee Alumni Associations Kent Schulz Leadership Award. John is also a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XXVIII where he has served as Calusa Regional Chair, co-chair of the 2015 Annual Meeting as well as on the State Board level.
So what else has John done in our community?
- 2019 Restaurant Director for the FRLA State Executive Board
- 2018 Tampa Bay Library Consortium’s Library Champion
- 2018 Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Person of the Year
- 2017 Received the FIRST EVER Honorary Degree in Philanthropy from State College of Florida
- 2012 Chairman of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce
- 2010 Spirit of Manatee Volunteer Spirit Award Winner
- 2016-2017 Board Member & Corporate Sponsor – Together Manatee
- 2018 Member of Manatee County School District’s Citizen Financial Advisory Committee
- 2014-2016 Organizer of the Bradenton Riverwalk Regatta food vendors
- 2013-2016 Chair of the Symphony of the Sands food vendors committee
- Served on the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Manatee Chapter Board as Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer
- Served on the State Board of FRLA as a committee chair or co-chair. For 2016/17 serving on the PAC, Government Relations and Membership Activities committees
- Serves on the Advisory Committees for both Manatee Technical College’s Culinary Program and USF Sarasota-Manatee Hospitality Program
- Corporate Sponsor & advocate of the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee, including hosting the WRC Manatee’s Donor Appreciation cocktail reception at his home for the past seven years
There are many more awards, and ways, that John Horne and his Anna Maria Oyster Bar crew have contributed to our communities. They are always open-hearted and willing to help, from a gift certificate to a full-blown progressive dinner, catering or, as has been known to happen…a wedding at his home!
There is life outside the restaurant as well… John & Amanda enjoy traveling anywhere… but usually, there’s a cooking class with wine along the way.