With the recent opening of another Jamaican restaurant in the city, Jamaican cuisine seems set to take its place alongside those currently available, ie, Indian, Creole, Chinese and Brazilian.
Cool Runnings Restaurant & Sports Bar, located in Charlotte Street between Camp Street and Alexander Streets, officially opened its doors recently. And the men behind it are popular entertainment promoter, Neil ‘Cody’ Cadogan and his Jamaican partner, Donovan Brown.
Cadogan and Brown gave The Scene a run-down on what Guyanese can expect them to dish out, and these include stewed fish, fish tea, ochro punch, linseed potato pudding, Irish moss, (pronounced ‘mash’ by Jamaicans) and peanut porridge, which when complemented with the ever-popular ‘mannish water,’ is popular in Jamaica as a boost for male potency, according to Brown.
Asked what sets Cool Runnings apart from its competitor, Jamrock, Cadogan replies that the restaurant’s authenticity, location, competitive prices and flexibility in its hours of service all make it a unique eating place. With reference to authenticity, he asserted that one could not speak about offering genuine Jamaican food without Jamaican condiments. For example, he said, jerk pork minus jerk seasoning from Jamaica is unheard of. Consequently, all ingredients that are essential to giving that unique Jamaican flavour will be imported. Touching on service hours, he said that in addition to the delivery service, they are prepared to remain open even until the wee hours of the morning to satisfy customers’ demands, and to operate on a twenty-four seven basis if necessary.
As far as prices are concerned, the young entrepreneurs revealed that whereas the competition offers curried goat at $900, Cool Runnings’ price for the same item is $700, and according to them stewed fish which will be sold for $700 at Cool Runnings is also being sold for $900 by the competition.
Dealing with what gives the establishment the competitive edge as against what sets it apart, they mentioned their strong grassroots connections and Cadogan’s links to the entertainment industry, which give them additional advantages in terms of marketing and media access. And last but definitely not least, there is their menu, which they contend is far more comprehensive than that of their competitiors. This latter advantage they attributed to Brown being Jamaican which, more than anything else, bolsters their claim to authenticity. They forgot, however, that their competition had long since touted that they had a Jamaica chef at the helm of their kitchen, which no doubt can give them a platform for claiming authenticity. But let’s wait and see how cool the Cool Runnings Restaurant will be as it seeks to become the number one Jamaican restaurant in Guyana. (Anthony Layne)