Breezes by the Bay was favored by festival-goers
Breezes by the Bay restaurant overlooking George Town harbor will close next month. The restaurant, in a prime location on the waterfront, has been a favorite spot for spectators during the Pirates Week and Batabano festivals.
Cliff Woods, director of the Tropical Trader Restaurant Group, said the majority of the staff, including all the Caymanian employees, would be moved to the group’s two other outlets – Chicken! Chicken! and Cimboco.
He said it had been challenging to run the business in George Town in recent years, and the decision was made to close and focus on the two other restaurants.
“Everyone knows that it has been difficult in George Town for the last several years,” he said. “Cruise arrivals are turning upwards and I do think that times are changing, but we have decided to focus on our strengths.
“Hopefully, someone else will take the space and figure out what we should have done differently.”
He said the group’s two other restaurants were “bursting at the seams” and it made sense to divert resources to those businesses.
“We have got a wonderful team and those restaurants need their strengths,” he added.
Transition period for George Town
The closure of Breezes by the Bay comes amid a period of transition for the George Town waterfront. Island Companies’ decision to close several stores in the Flagship building and the closure of the Hard Rock Cafe in 2013 were seen initially as a sign that the prospects of the capital were in permanent decline.
But Hard Rock reopened late last year, an Ice Bar has opened in the Flagship building, and a new venue, Bar Crudo, has opened underneath Guy Harvey’s restaurant.
Robert Hamaty, president of Tortuga Rum Company and an advocate for the revitalization of George Town, said he thinks the town’s fortunes are actually on an upswing.
“Things are not looking that bad in general,” he said. “Cruise numbers are picking up and a few new places have opened up. That also means there is more competition.”
Mr. Hamaty said the Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism, which was set up to promote business interests in George Town, had died off. He believes the town needs a more coordinated approach to marketing to compete with Camana Bay.
“There is no merchants association or town council,” he said. “George Town is too fragmented. The merchants are competing against each other instead of working together on public relations and marketing.”