Davis Gayle, Jr., the proprietor of Tropical Paradise Restaurant and Tropical Paradise Ballroom, one of the most outstanding business people in the Brooklyn area, said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced him to sell his businesses on Utica Avenue in the heart of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn.
Gayle, 56, told Caribbean Life on Wednesday, in an exclusive interview, that he has since relocated to Orlando, Fl., where he is in the process of starting a franchise there.
“It was definitely a difficult decision to make but, after weighing my options post-COVID-19, there were many opportunities in Florida,” he said. “So, I decided to follow my intuition.
“I decided to sell Tropical Paradise Ballroom’s location of operation, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, to an unnamed corporation,” he added. “The staple brand name of Tropical Paradise will continue in the Sunshine State, in Orlando. Our brand was established in September 2001.”
Gayle said he relocated to Orlando in December last year.
“Residing in Florida has always been my dream, mainly due to the beautiful climate, and also it’s closer in proximity to the Caribbean,” he said. “My business plans are to create a Caribbean atmosphere, where I can bring different cultures together to experience a taste of the islands.”
Gayle said Tropical Paradise will be opening its new location in July at 73 South Semoran Blvd., Orlando.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to all my customers for supporting Tropical Paradise for the past 20 years,” he said. “The devastation of the pandemic that we all were affected by in 2020 shall be soon overcome.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, of Honduran parentage, Gayle, affectionately called Junior, has distinguished himself and his establishments.
With fierce entrepreneurial will and a genuine love for people, he has taken the business of restaurants to new heights and has transformed the Tropical Paradise franchise into a veritable cultural center.
Tropical Paradise Restaurant opened on Sept. 8, 2001 offering a wide range of West Indian dishes.
In addition to being frequented by top artists, Tropical Paradise was well known in the Caribbean community as a nurturing ground for new artists.
The Tropical Paradise Ballroom opened on Nov. 8, 2008. The large ballroom with its mirror walls and beautiful chandeliers quickly became “the place” for weddings, birthday parties and community events.
Gayle started in business in 1979 working in his father’s, Dave Gayle, Sr., meat market.
He continued to learn and absorb all that he could about the business from his father while pursuing his own career path.
In 1988, he joined the New York City Department of Corrections, serving as a corrections officer for 13 years.
Gayle worked the night shift at the Anna M. Kross Center, the largest correctional facility on Rikers Island.
By day, he continued to help his father build one of the best known meat markets in Brooklyn, at 4807 Church Ave.
By 1994, Gayle was ready and fully prepared to take on business ownership for himself.
Taking a leave of absence from the Department of Corrections, he opened the Avenue D Meat Market.
Gayle’s love and concern for his community were evident in 1983, when he became an auxiliary police officer at the 67th Precinct.
As a restaurant owner, he continued to give back to the community, graciously supporting cultural events by providing courtesy backstage catering.
Every Christmas, Tropical Paradise produced a cultural show that became a calendar event in the Caribbean community.
As a role model, Gayle willingly shares his personal credo with young people.
“Anything you desire in life can be achieved with hard work and education,” he said.
His commitment to excellence and community service has been recognized and rewarded with several awards, including the “Men of Distinction Award” from former State Sen. Marty Markowitz, an ex-Brooklyn Borough President, in 2001, and a Community Service Award from New Life Tabernacle Church on Avenue D and Utica Avenue.
Gayle is married to Trinidadian Joanne Gayle and is the proud father of five children: daughters, Leonie and Jasmine; and sons, Aaron, Omari and Amari.
Gayle can be reached at (347) 423-6113 or (407) 601-7273.