Restaurant looks to expand to other districts
For all those employed at Butterfield Bank, Scotiabank and the court house in downtown George Town; we’ve got some bad news.
The Al La Kebab restaurant that opened on Albert Panton Street in October 2008 has closed its doors for good.
However, where one door closes, another opens. And in the case of the Cayman-based restaurant it may end up being more like two or three doors.
“Hey, if the Island can support four or five Subways, it can definitely support three or four Al La Kebabs,” said restaurant co-owner Laura Silverman.
According to co-owner Alan Silverman, the downtown location for an eatery like Al La Kebab was not ideal.
“The menu that we offer…is more affordable,” he said. “I don’t all of a sudden want to change that, the whole business model for Al La Kebab was affordable food to the masses. It didn’t make sense in George Town….we’d have to change our price point to make that work.”
So, in the later part of April the popular restaurant decided to close up and leave George Town behind. It was followed the next week by downtown institution Bacchus Wine and Food Bar, which had been open just down the road on Fort Street for more than eight years.
Bacchus closes too
Bacchus owner Keith Griffin said he just doesn’t see things getting better for the downtown George Town-area restaurant business, but Mr. Silverman disagrees.
“Currently, there’s a vacuum with us closed, Miami Subs closed, Bacchus closed, and Full of Beans [Main Street location] closed,” he said. “I think…somebody’s got to go in and fill that void. If somebody else took it over and put in a different concept, if they wanted to put in a Caribbean restaurant or a plated restaurant, I think they will do extremely well in that location.”
Mr. Silverman said it would also help to get some residential properties, or even a hotel in George Town to have an “anchor” to keep the businesses going past five o’clock.
“For central George Town, not having any residential up above (the businesses)…there’s nothing for people to stay in that area,” he said.
The Silvermans put the Al La Kebab location downtown up for sale this week.
Al La Kebab is looking to expand to other Grand Cayman districts, beyond its current location in the Marquee Plaza in George Town off West Bay Road.
Mr. Silverman said he’s looking to establish new restaurants in the West Bay area, as well as the Red Bay-Prospect area and potentially one other part of the Island.
“It’s a repositioning in the market,“ he said. “We hope there will be two or three more Al La Kebab stores.”
The newer stores will be closer in size and operation to the Marquee Plaza store, which is basically just a large food-service stall with some outdoor seating where people walk up and order at one window and pick up the food at the next.
“The marquee is a very different concept, its fun, it’s not a whole lot of table service and people take care of their own garbage,” Mrs. Silverman said.
A commissary kitchen has been established in Industrial Park to cook for and service all of the potential Al La Kebab locations.
Eventually, Mr. Silverman said, Al La Kebab may look at franchising stores outside the Cayman Islands.
“That’s the big dream,” he said.