By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
AN iconic western New Providence restaurant will create 12 jobs when it reopens this Thursday, Tribune Business can confirm, as ‘Traveler’s Rest’ returns to its family owners.
Dwayne Bain, who with his wife Tanya will operate the famed restaurant, told Tribune Business: “We want to bring it back to the good old days.”
He added: “We’re going to reopen this Thursday. We’re going to be doing a promotion with Liquid Courage at the opening. We’re going to be open for the weekends, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting the first month, just to get the word out. After that we are going to move to six days a week, being closed on Mondays.”
Mr Bain and his wife are family to Traveler’s Rest’s property owner, and he added: “We’re going to bring back that good, down home Bahamian food. We’re going to have live bands on the weekends, and we want to create a great family atmosphere. We want to bring it back to the good old days. We have some good things in store for our patrons.”
The Bains will thus take over operation of Traveler’s Rest from the group of investors headed by Jamie Dingman, son of world-renowned entrepreneur Michael Dingman.
They had themselves taken over the property’s operation under a lease arrangement, investing in an upgrade, but ultimately withdrew from the deal after closing Traveler’s Rest down once again.
Prior to Mr Dingman’s group, the restaurant had previously been operated by musician, the late Leroy ‘Duke’ Hanna, and his wife, Joan, for some four decades.
Mr Bain explained: “The property is owned by my mother-in-law, Melvern Roberts. It was in her family for years. Her father was the owner of the property, the late Mr Edgar Bain, now deceased. He was the brother of Clarence Bain.
“The property was never sold; it was just leased to the previous tenants. Mr Duke Hanna ran it for 40-plus years. Mr Jamie Dingman was the last to lease the property. They were all leasing from my wife’s grandfather and, after he died, it was passed on to my mother-in-law. My wife Tanya and I are now renting it. The property is now in the owner’s hands.”
Mr Bain told Tribune Business that the family had received overwhelming support from nerarby residents and visitors in their efforts to reopen the restaurant.
“It is so overwhelming for us to open this place back up again. This has been in the family for years,” Mr Bain said.
“This is the first time now that the children are taking over the operation of the property. Since we have been here a lot of persons have been coming in and telling us about their experience at Traveler’s Rest going back 30-40 years. We’ve been getting overwhelming support from the locals and tourists in terms of it being re-opened and run by the people who own it. It’s a great experience for us. We’re happy to have this opportunity to operate it.”
Mr Bain added: “We had to do some fixing up. We had to basically overhaul the roof and just some minor painting, that’s about it. We also have the gift shop that will be opened as well. We have leased that out to some friends who will be operating it as Traveler’s Treasures.”
Mr Bain explained that he and his wife have taken a hands-on approach to the restaurant’s operations going forward, adding that he would handle the marketing and media relations, while his wife deals with the accounting.
“We will be here and we will have Angela Ferguson as the general manager, dealing with the overall running of the restaurant. She has a wealth of knowledge in food and beverage management,” Mr Bain said.
Meanwhile, Tribune Business also understands that another operator is taking over the former Sandyport Beach Cafe, a different property previously leased by Mr Dingman’s group but never opened.
That property is now being leased by Jacques Carlino, who is currently recruiting staff for his Blue Sail concept. This links to Blue Caviar, his other restaurant outside the gates of Lyford Cay.