By FELICITY DARVILLE
BEVERLEY’s Kitchen is one of the pioneering businesses on Carmichael Road, keeping up a long tradition of food, family and friends - celebrating the special things in life. Long before it became the bustling area once dubbed “City 2000” by father of the nation, Sir Lynden Pindling, Carmichael was home to Beverley’s.
Beverley Duncan-Moncur-Walkes was a woman with a vision and a knack for making people happy with good food and good vibes. Her insight - moving into Carmichael when it was nowhere nearly as populated as it is today - has allowed her to leave a business of substance for her descendants. Back in 1997 when the business first opened, it was known as M&M Restaurant. But just a few years later, it became Beverley’s - the name synonymous with homestyle Jamaican cooking in the Carmichael community.
Today, even after Beverley’s passing (August 25, 2017), her children, including Marcia, Careen and Briah are proudly carrying on her legacy. The pandemic hit many businesses hard, and Beverley’s Kitchen was one of them. However, the company recently rebranded and made some changes that have poised it to rebound and succeed in this new path along its journey.
The well loved establishment is now called “Beverley’s Cafe”. The building’s interior has undergone a facelift. When you step in the cafe, expect bright colours, warm smiles, and the great food that patrons of Beverley’s have come to know. There is seating for about six people in the cafe, casual style - a welcome change after the pandemic resulted in a long pause in indoor dining.
Marcia and the Beveley’s Cafe staff are keeping Beverley’s legacy alive with her beloved Jamaica recipes, including oxtail, ackee and codfish, curry chicken and more, with the popular Jamaican rice and peas with a host of traditional side orders. But Marcia, who has spent most of her life in The Bahamas, is also promoting some of the Bahamian favorites added to the menu, including stew fish and a variety of souse dishes including chicken, turkey, sheep tongue and pigs feet.
Beverley came to The Bahamas in the early 1970s at the invitation of her older brother, Rolston (Bunny) Roach (now deceased), and they lived in Freeport, Grand Bahama. She later migrated to Nassau, where she worked as cashier for Audley Kemp & Sons for 25 years of her life. Here, she gained invaluable experience in how to run a business. Eventually, she married Kenneth Walkes and together, food became their passion. Kenneth loved to cook Bahamian food and Beverley always won people over with delicious Jamaican dishes that she grew up preparing.
Marcia recalls: “Both of them love food and together, they made some great tasting food magic!”
In these early days, Beverley and Kenneth started cooking and selling food on the weekends. For Jamaicans in New Providence, or those who simply love to eat Jamaican food, they would have to go to Centerville Food Market, buy the ingredients, and go home and make them.
For this reason, this loving couple decided to put their heads together, put their hearts into cooking, and come up with a service for the community - Jamaican food on the go. It became so popular that eventually, they started cooking on weekdays as well.
When they first moved to the Carmichael area, they were still selling food from home. But with perseverance and a growing clientele, they got their first commercial space in 1997,
Since then, Kenneth has served as head chef for Beverley’s for two decades. For those who know him as “Sir K”, they know they are getting some of the best souse they ever tasted.
But there’s something else new about Beverley’s. A grocery section now provides lots of raw ingredients to make Jamaican dishes at home. For those who love sea moss and making the traditional Jamaica Christmas drink Irish moss and sorrel, Beverley’s has all the ingredients. Items like bammy (which is like a cassava pancake), goat cheese, Jamaican buns, hard dough bread, natural drinks like peanut punch and sorrel, spices and much more are available in the grocery area.
Most importantly, the new face of Beverley’s includes the introduction of Juici Patties. In Jamaica, they are the biggest name in patties, and Marcia hopes they will catch on here as well. You can buy them already warm individually, or purchase a box. Flavours include meat loaf, beef, soy, callaloo leaf, shrimp, vegetable and chicken. The frozen patties can be popped into the oven and enjoyed within minutes. This move represents an expansion and the new face of Beverley’s.
Beverley’s family is committed to preserving Beverley’s legacy while focusing on growth - listening to the needs of the community and meeting them. She has traveled the world; but somehow, she still finds her way back home to the Bahamas, and she sees why Beverley decided to call this country home.
“I have moved away a few times, but for some reason, I always return because I love this place,” Marcia said of The Bahamas.
“I went to school here. Most of my friends and family are here. Our business is here, and I enjoy the fact that I live in a small country where I know and have access to our leaders. Yes, we have some issues - like the health system, crazy BPL bills and bad roads - I am hoping we can resolve these in my lifetime. But that said, I still believe this place is Paradise!”
Marcia was a young girl when Beverley started cooking and serving food from her two bedroom apartment on St Georges Park in Rolle Ave.
“She would cook weekdays and weekends and I would walk and catch the bus to deliver food to Audley Kemp & Sons on East and East Street South, and Trixies and Economy Bus company in Centerville, and elsewhere,” Marcia shared.
“There were many famous patrons who would come and sit and eat all the good old curry goat, oxtail, soups and more. A few Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, attorneys, doctors, business people and neighbours all patronised us.”
What makes Beverley’s special is that as a company, they wanted to serve - and bring together - Bahamian and Jamaica culture.
“We were one of the first Jamaican restaurants in Nassau to sell authentic Jamaican food alongside a full Bahamian menu,” she explained.
“Everyone was selling one thing. We decided from early on that we wanted to serve both cultures, and people really gravitated to it.”
Once in their main establishment on Carmichael road, the business grew to host seating for 50 patrons at a time. They also ran a second location in the Astoria hotel for a time in the 2000s.
When Beverley died in 2017, her family came together and made a decision to work to keep the business alive the way she wanted, so the legacy would continue.
“Sir K is still the head cook; and I, along with my cousin Careen, daughter Briah, brother Pablo, sister Nat, and our wonderful staff - Benny, Ella, Monalisa, Paul and Simone all make it happen,” Marcia said.
“We didn’t disappoint her, the family stuck together and kept the business going because it’s what we knew. The restaurant business has been in our blood for generations, going back to our great grandmother who migrated from Cuba to Jamaica. She owned restaurants; and Beverley’s is family owned and operated. My brother and daughter are also involved here so we are three generations strong!”
Beverley’s Cafe and Caribbean Mart have hit it off well in the Carmichael community and nationwide, as patrons have dubbed it “Little Jamaica”. From the cooked food to grocery items, Marcia and her family put a little bit of Beverley flair in all they do, the key ingredient being “love”. Visit them at 259 Carmichael Road, Whatsapp or call (242) 448-9753.
Beverley’s is now closed on Sundays and open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Food and groceries can be ordered ahead at www.beverleys242.com.
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