Toula Amanna Uniting Communities Through Collaboration And Contributions
By Erika Cartwright
February 6, 2023
As an owner of multiple operating businesses, mostly restaurants and Real Estate in downtown areas, Toula Amanna currently employs over 200 people in south Florida. Among her businesses are the Deerfield Beach Café, which she received through the RFP Award of the Pier Restaurant, an honor for which Toula is grateful. She is the owner of the Flashback Diner Chain, with three locations in Boca Raton, Davie and Hallandale Beach. Flashback Diner has been named one of Florida’s top restaurants for over 30 years. Toula, daughter of a Greek emigrant family, began waitressing when she was 17 at LUMS Restaurant, where the first unit of the original Flashback Diner is currently located in Hallandale Beach.
Through hard work and determination, Toula later bought the LUMS Restaurant she was working at and opened it in 1990, as the first Flashback Diner location in Hallandale Beach. Toula credits her success to the efforts of all the good people who helped her achieve her dreams. Mentors, Staff and Family who helped her research, plan and execute with courage, integrity and especially, hard work.
Finding herself in a Post-Pandemic World as the owner of Real Estate and operating businesses in Boca Raton, Davie, Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach, Toula states, ”I'm also very grateful to the many people who are devoted to the community in which they serve. I truly credit them with my success in the past and during the Pandemic, for my survival in business: Mayors, Commissioners, CRA Directors, Town Council, City Staff, Planners, Resident Volunteers and SBA Officers. All those people that through the years saw the merit in taking old, decrepit buildings and renovating them into something new and exciting, while also creating jobs. During the Pandemic, these people were the beacon which we all followed to get us out of hardship and illness.” Toula expresses her gratitude to everyone who was instrumental in putting together grants and special programs to keep the businesses viable and to thrive after reopening. She credits Dr. Jeremy Earle, for his insight and concern, which resulted in the City of Hallandale Beach moving forward and thriving with new development. As well as Eli Khazzam in Business Development, Christy Dominguez and Mayor Cooper. She states,” In the Town of Davie, the entire Council just celebrated the Re-Election of their Team as it was, including Mayor Judy Paul and Councilmember Caryl Hattan, a testament from the people of Davie that everyone is happy with the work they are doing. Credit goes to the Town Administrator, Rick Lemack and the Head of the CRA, Philip Holste.” Her gratitude extends to Mayor Scott Singer, as well as the amazing City Staff, in Boca Raton, for their assistance in putting together grants and advertising campaigns to bring back to life the businesses in that City which are now booming again. In Deerfield Beach, the quick response of David Santucci, City Manager, Mayor Ganz and Commissioners allowed for expansion of the exterior patio for social distancing through the crisis and extended us credit. Toula is thankful to Mayor Dean Trantalis in Fort Lauderdale, who navigated through a series of hardships for the City, during its exponential growth, as well as City Manager, Greg Chavarria for their integrity and professionalism.
“During the past two years, Managers and Staff worked diligently to sustain these businesses,” Toula stated. “Santos Melendez, Julio Izaguirre, Jamal Qazi, Karen Denike, Pepper Parker, June Perrino, Joseph Bienaime, Louis Poulias, Jorge Almeida, Costas Koubis, and Eduardo Alonso-Morales. Also, my daughters, Mariella Amanna and Elizabeth Amanna, as well as many other employees, each of whom put their best self forward with amazing results. "Special thanks go to my decades-long friend and business partner, Rochelle Matza, our CPA, for her amazing professional acumen as she navigated through the complexities of the SBA relief programs and taxation with the utmost patience and support in very challenging times. For the 25+ years I have had the privilege to work with her, she has constantly volunteered her time to the support of major Community and Charitable causes that have enhanced and raised living standards extending benefits to people beyond the boundaries of our State and supporting causes of National importance."
Some will be missed for their presence and efforts as they have moved away from the area such as Rose Bishop, our previous Controller and George Thiakos, who left our company and started a new venture.” In the future, Toula sees herself doing what inspires her more than anything else, which is to return the incredible gifts she has received back to the Communities. She plans on the continuation of building and renovating buildings, in which people live, work and play, on a grander scale. She wishes to pass on the knowledge and the thought process that created them, to the younger generations, Toula states: “Working in this direction, the time has come for me to send invitations to other business people, landowners and influencers to connect and plan how to best thrive in the new world of Technology-dominated services, employment challenges, rising costs, changing culture through Social Media, lack of credible information and complicated political climate.” An advocate for business owners, Toula states, “As I work in two distinct industries, in Commercial Real Estate and in the Restaurant Business, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss causes that will make our lives better, for which I have undertaken the initiative to work towards and invite others to join me, she continues, “The $3.02 Tip Credit in Wages, unchanged since 2003, must be increased. The FLRA and NRA must help Restaurateurs that they represent to increase the tip credit accordingly, as now servers have greater income than the managers while the cooks and dishwashers work just as hard and the income distribution for restaurant workers is unfair. We also need the SBA to develop specialized programs for the Restaurant Industry. An incentive to Banks to start loaning to Restaurants again, through guarantees of those loans and incentives to the Lending Institutions: Banks would rather stay away from lending to Restaurants in a Post-Pandemic World and we are in an industry the Nation needs very much for the jobs we create. In the development of our cities, we must find common ground between Landowners, Developers, Politicians and City Government. I understand all sides, the developer’s and the landowner’s but most importantly, I understand the diversity and needs of the Community. I believe only clear and direct communication can bring results, as well as respect. We can partner up only with a person we trust and respect.” Toula Amanna, a remarkable business woman, a pillar in her communities, with integrity and vision. To connect, please contact her at: Toula.Amanna@RegulusAllianceCorp.com