Dart Real Estate tenants adapt to current challenges with new offerings, special deliveries and more

May 4, 2020Blog

By Alan Markoff

It’s not business as usual, but it’s business, and it’s particularly helping employees…and hungry members of the public.

Several restaurant tenants in Dart-owned properties are doing what they can to stay in business and keep staff during this time of mandatory curfew as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They aren’t making a lot of money, but they are staying afloat and providing employment, even if they have had to reduce their staff numbers. Just as importantly, they’re providing much-welcomed meals to the public.

“Doing deliveries only is definitely not good for a restaurant like ours,” says Walter Fajette, co-owner of Agua Restaurant & Lounge in Camana Bay. “We have been open mostly for our employees. At least we can give them a couple of shifts per week.”

To help the front-of-house staff members who normally make the bulk of their earnings with gratuities, Agua has given them all a 50% raise, Fajette says.

At Bacaro, located at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, owner and chef Federico Destro says the decision to open for deliveries is purely for the benefit of the staff. “The company doesn’t make any profit in doing this, but about 25 out of 30 staff members are involved, alternating a couple of days a week each.”

Bacaro

Bacaro at Cayman Islands Yacht Club

Across the car park, Morgan’s Seafood Restaurant recently reopened to the public for meal pick-up on 23 April after closing one month prior. Owner Jane Mcinerney says the restaurant’s main reason for the reopening is to give the staff work, but that its hours will depend on consumer demand.

“We have just finished a full restaurant clean and sanitation and we started a twice-weekly community lunch service to West Bay,” she says.

Gelato & Co. in Camana Bay is also delivering its gelato and other sweet treats six days a week. Owner Stefano Franceschi says the revenue is helping him stay in business.

“Even the smallest purchases can have big impacts on small businesses,” he says. “It means staff stays employed and doors stay open.”

Owner Stefano Franceschi in Gelato & Co.

During this time, a helping hand goes a long way in easing the burden. Several tenants expressed gratitude for the various forms of relief and support they have received from Dart and the wider community. They say it’s that Caymankind attitude that lends itself to the country’s resiliency.

Adapting
After suddenly finding themselves in the delivery business, some restaurants have also adapted their menu offerings to meet the new situation.

In addition to offering its full regular menu for curbside pick-up or delivery, Petit Paris French Café & Bakery in Camana Bay is offering to sell baking yeast with orders, says owner Bruno Deluche.

Chef Bruno Deluche and Silviya Toncheva in Petit Paris at Camana Bay

“There’s a shortage of yeast on the island and we get a shipment every week, so I said, ‘why not share some?’,” he says, adding that Petit Paris can also offer ready-to-bake dough with 24 hours’ notice.

In addition to a-la-carte menus, Agua, Bacaro and Morgan’s are offering a variety of set menus that are similar to the typical “Restaurant Month” promotions offered during Grand Cayman’s Restaurant Month every October.

“Our daily three-course fixed menu for CI$25 is very popular,” says Agua’s Fajette, adding that fresh pasta dishes, steaks and burgers are also popular orders for deliveries.

Bacaro also offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $25, as well as “Weekend Feasts” on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with a seafood or meat option for $39 and a vegetarian option for $35.
“With these menus, the portions are really big – hence the name ‘Feast’,” says Destro.

Carnivore in Camana Bay opened its doors in February and had already become a popular spot for lunch before the curfew, but it has had to stop that part of the business for the time being.

“We’re not doing any hot food for now,” says manager Eric Schwandt.

However, because Carnivore is also a butcher shop that caters to special orders, it is doing next-day deliveries of uncooked steaks and other meats, ready-to-heat packaged meats and other items, Schwandt says.

The teams at West Indies Wine Company and Cayman Distributors Group, both of which are closed to the public, have also adapted to the new situation. Employees of those companies are now helping the existing Blackbeard’s specialists with its delivery service, which was operational even before the COVID-19 situation.

With people urged to stay at home, more customers are asking for deliveries and the employees from West Indies Wine Company and Cayman Distributors Group are often the people answering the phones and responding to emails.

Marketing Manager Suzi Culbert says they are happy to make recommendations. “Whether the customer is looking for a wine to pair with a special home-cooked or delivered restaurant meal or looking to add variety to their ‘quarantini’ cocktail, our team can put selections together working within the customer’s budget and taste preference.”

Looking ahead
Based on what Premier Alden McLaughlin has said, there will be a phased ending of the curfew and shelter-in-place regulations, and that social distancing measures will be required in restaurants.

Whether through delivery orders now or dining in once they can reopen, Cayman’s restaurants are going to need support, especially since it looks like overseas visitors won’t be coming to Grand Cayman for quite some time.

From left: Agua co-owners Cristiano Vincentini and Walter Fajette, award-winning bartender Cory Scruggs and executive chef R. J. Dye

“Right now, the restaurant industry is suffering and under duress,” Vincentini says. “Historically, Agua has always supported community efforts and fundraisers, so we are appealing to the Cayman community and Caymankind to support us now.”

More than anything though, Destro wants to see Bacaro reopen its doors and he offered some words to the restaurant’s patrons.

“Andra tutto bene, which is Italian for ‘everything will be all right’,” he says. “You’re all in our hearts and we cannot wait to see you back!”

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians.

HOW TO GET YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS

Camana Bay

Many of Camana Bay’s eateries are working independently or with third-party services to offer take-out and delivery options. Updated offerings from all of Camana Bay’s dining establishments, along with other Town Centre updates, can be found at www.camanabay.com/coronavirus.

Restaurant: Agua Restaurant & Lounge
Pick-up: Yes, Monday through Saturday
Delivery range: West Bay to Red Bay/Grand Harbour, though possibly beyond these areas through a third-party service
Delivery days/hours: Daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (11 a.m.-4 p.m. lunch menu, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. dinner menu)
Delivery cost: Free
Minimum order: CI$25 for delivery
Order method: Call
Options available: A-la-carte menu, CI$25 three-course prix fixe menu, fresh bread, deli items
Phone: +1.345.949.2482
Website: www.agua.ky

Establishment: Carnivore
Pick-up: Yes
Delivery range: West Bay to Prospect
Delivery days/hours: Next-day delivery, Tuesdays through Saturdays
Delivery cost: Free with minimum order of CI$75; $6 otherwise
Minimum order: None
Order method: Call or email [email protected]
Options available: Butcher’s case meats and other items
Phone: +1.345.640.6328
Website: www.carnivore.ky

Restaurant: Gelato & Co.
Pick-up: Yes, curbside delivered to your car
Open hours: Mondays through Saturdays; order by 4 p.m. for same-day delivery
Delivery range: West Bay to South Sound; West Bay to East End on Wednesdays only
Delivery cost: None for orders of CI$20 or more; $5 for orders less than $20
Minimum order: None
Order method: Call or online form (return call to verify and pay)
Options available: Full menu and special orders
Phone: +1.345.324.4359
Website: www.gelatoeco.com

Restaurant: Haagen-Dazs

Pick-up: Yes
Open hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
Delivery range: West Bay to Spotts
Delivery cost: Free
Minimum order: None
Order method: Call or DM on Instagram
Options available: 21 flavours, cones and toppings
Phone: +1.345.946.8061
Website: www.haagen-dazs.com 

Restaurant: Jessie’s Juice Bar

Pick-up: Yes
Open hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Delivery days/hours: Mondays through Sundays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Delivery cost: Dependent on location
Minimum order: None
Order method: www.letseat.ky or call
Phone: +1.345.949.2012
Website: www.jessiesjuicebar.com

Restaurant: Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar  

Pick-up: Yes
Open hours: 12-8 p.m.
Delivery: Yes
Delivery cost: Dependent on location
Minimum order: None
Order method: www.letseat.ky or call
Phone: +1.345.640.0001
Website: www.mizucayman.com

Restaurant: Pani Indian Kitchen

Pick-up: Yes
Open hours: 12-8 p.m.
Delivery: Yes
Delivery cost: Dependent on location
Minimum order: None
Order method: www.letseat.ky or call
Phone: +1.345.640.0007
Website: www.panicayman.com

Restaurant: Petit Paris French Café & Bakery
Pick-up: Yes
Delivery range: Four-way stop in West Bay to Hurley’s in Red Bay
Delivery days/hours: Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Delivery cost: None
Minimum order: CI$25 for delivery
Order method: Call
Options available: Full a-la-carte menu, coffees and juices, sweets, breads, doughs, organic flour, yeast
Phone: +1.345.328.4000
Website: www.ppcayman.com

Restaurant: Starbucks
Pick-up: Yes
Open hours: Mondays through Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Delivery range: Island-wide
Delivery days/hours: Mondays through Saturdays 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Delivery cost: CI$10
Order method: www.islandgrub.ky or call
Phone: +1.345.233.7827
Options available: Full menu

Cayman Islands Yacht Club

Restaurant: Bacaro
Pick-up: Yes, curbside delivered to your car
Delivery range: West Bay through Savannah
Delivery days/hours: Daily 12-8 p.m.
Delivery cost: Free with CI$40 minimum order to West Bay through South Sound; $5 Red Bay through Savannah
Minimum order: None
Order method: Call
Options available: A-la-carte menu, three-course set menu for CI$25, “Weekend Feast” (meat, seafood or vegetarian) available Friday through Sunday
Phone: +1.345.749.4800
Website: www.bacaro.ky

Restaurant: Morgan’s Seafood Restaurant
Pick-up: Yes
Delivery range: No deliveries at present
Delivery days/hours: Call for pick-up hours
Delivery cost: No deliveries at present
Minimum order: None
Order method: Call
Options available: A-la-carte family-style meals with 24 hours’ notice
Phone: +1.345.946.7049 or +1.345.922.5824
Website: www.morganscayman.com

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