Roland’s Garden coming to town

One of Cayman’s culinary
institutions is coming to George Town in October.

Roland’s Garden was one of the more
unusual dining experiences on-island, being not a restaurant but a private home
where chef Roland Schoefer would invite guests to eat with him in his garden.

After six years, Roland’s Garden
will close at its Frank Sound location later this summer. A new project, also
featuring a beer garden, is now under way at the site of the Butterfly Farm on
Lawrence Boulevard.

“We’re going to move it as it is
right now into the space [of the Butterfly farm], with Roland’s Garden on one
side and a simple beer garden on the other side,” said Julian Schoefer,
Roland’s son.

“We’ve Caybrew on board and are
going to make the first German beer garden in the Caribbean. People can come
down, bring their kids – we’ve plenty of room.”

Familiar feel

The new location will retain the
feel and decor of Roland’s Garden, all the way down to the familiar thousands
of wine bottles.

The main building will house a
preparation and lounge area, complete with Roland’s knick-knacks and ornaments.
But all activities take place in the outdoor section, which is enclosed with
mosquito nets. There will be about ten tables, serving a maximum of 50 guests.
Roland Schoefer will be cooking in a specially constructed paved barbecue-style
area in the corner.

Although the beer garden area will
be licensed, according to Julian Schoefer, people will still be able to bring
their own wine or beer, retaining the ambience of the current site.

“We’re keeping the concept the way
it is; there will be no main menu although we will have the facilities now to
accommodate vegetarians. There will be no restaurant menu – you’ll get a four-
or five-course dinner like we have now, and you get what Roland cooks. It’ll be
really, really easy and down to earth – no stress.

“That’s my dad’s style. [It’s]
easy, simple: bring people in, let them come out with a smile – that’s all we
want.”

Different clientele

Although the property is close to
the Seven Mile Beach area, said the younger Schoefer, it will have an entirely
different focus and clientele.

“It’s a really easy concept. There
are so many other places where you sit down and someone comes to serve you.
We’re going to have four or five big tables for about fifty people. It’s not
going to be a nightclub; we’ll probably be done by 11pm. If people want to go
out drinking, there are plenty of places on Seven Mile Beach.

“We will offer lunch and dinner in
the beer garden but absolutely simple, German-style food – maybe Bratwurst with
sauerkraut for instance. No heavy food, big prices and fancy stuff. You have
that kind of thing everywhere, but we want to do something different,” he said.

No bills

Roland Schoefer started his career
in Heidelberg, Germany, as a nightclub and restaurant owner before coming to
Cayman in 1982 to work at the Galleon Beach Hotel. Subsequent projects included
Lighthouse Club in Breakers, a German restaurant in Monterey, California, seven
years at the Top of the Falls at Treasure Island and latterly, Captain Morgan’s
Steakhouse.

In 2003, Roland retired from
professional cooking and since then has been running Roland’s Garden. As it was
not a restaurant, there were no official bills or charges, but rather people
would donate money toward the cost of the food and give whatever they felt the
meal was worth. A similar system, possibly with a minimum price, is likely to
be implemented at the new location.

A lease has been signed for the
property and subject to paperwork, the restaurant and beer garden are scheduled
to open this October.

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