Yet another Caribbean restaurant has opened its doors in the epicenter of the Caribbean Community in Brooklyn.
Leading Vincentian-born graphic designer and community figure, Franklyn “Supadex” Richards, and his Trinidadian-born fiancée, Marge Durant, a professional hairdresser and owner of Discover Beauty Unisex Salon in Brooklyn, opened Caribbean Spot early last month.
“It was pretty much her idea; she always wanted to own a restaurant,” Richards, president of the popular Vincentian community group VincyCares, told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview, referring to Durant about the restaurant that is located at 3916 Church Ave., between East 39th and 40th Streets.
“Her client list was growing,” added Richards about Durant, who was involved in food catering. “It was a lot of work, and she wanted to take it to another level, and she started looking at the possibility of owning a restaurant.
“So when this place became vacant, we jumped on the opportunity because of its location,” he continued.
Richards, who owns the Brooklyn-based Blak Shuga Graphix, said one reason he got involved in the restaurant business was to “fill a void” in the Vincentian community in New York metropolitan area.
“We wanted Vincentians to get access to a restaurant they can call home — where they get access to local drinks and food, and a place where they can socialize,” he said.
Durant, who hails from Woodbrook in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital, said her love for cooking and service goes back to growing up in the twin-island republic. She said her parents, Sydney and Maria Siblal, had catered for the late Trinidad and Tobago President and Prime Minister Arthur N.R. Robinson.
With a mixed heritage of Chinese, Spanish, Indian and African, Durant said she can cook a wide variety of ethnic and local food.
From her famous curry crab and callaloo to her Chinese “pow,” she said the rest of her repertoire is “very wide.”
“I’m very proud it,” said Durant about the new restaurant in town. “It’s something I always wanted to do; it’s part of my dream that came true.”
Richards and Durant said they collaborated with “an aim to make Caribbean Spot a clean, relaxed atmosphere, reminiscing of the Caribbean.”
The walls of the restaurant are adorned with pictures of some of what Richards regarded as the greater leaders and nation-builders in the Caribbean. These include paramount Carib chief Joseph Chatoyer, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; late St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Robert Milton Cato; late Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams; and Jamaica’s national hero and pan-Africanist Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Also adorning the walls are 18” x 24” photos of some of the capitals of the Caribbean, starting from Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Port-of-Spain to St. George’s, Grenada to Kingston, Jamaica.
Richards said the couple also hopes to establish an interactive media system “to capture and broadcast Caribbean events live.”
As for the food, Caribbean Spot plans to cater to vegetarians, vegans (no animal products) and regular meals, Richards said.
The menu currently comprises Caribbean delicacies: oxtail; curry, stew and jerk chicken; fry, escovitch and steam fish; and a wide variety of roti.
The Vincentian delicacy, Blackfish, as well as conch, crab, lobsters and breadfruit will also be featured on the menu from time to time, Richards said.
He said vegetarians and vegans can expect peas, beans, chick peas, broccoli, spinach and tofu, along with different salads and coleslaw.
For drinks, there are mauby by Vincentian Stephanie Herbert (Steff Mauby), sorrel and “a wide variety of natural drinks,” Richards said.
“The long-term vision is to financially empower Vincentians at home,” he said. “I want to go there and purchase produce, such as conch, Blackfish, fish and fruits and vegetables, and make them available for Vincentians in the Diaspora.
“I just want to thank the Vincy community for their support so far,” he added. “We’re trying to be in there for the long-run. Vincentians needed a restaurant where they can get access to food they’re accustomed to eat from home.”