Pirates Week festival-goers can once again monitor the events with refreshments in hand from the balcony of Breezes by the Bay restaurant on the George Town waterfront.
The new owner, Caymanian businessman Luigi Moxam, confirmed that the business is reopening Friday, just in time for the annual pirates landing on Saturday which typically brings thousands of visitors and residents to downtown George Town.
Many of the attendees over the years have packed themselves into the second and third story of the Breezes building, and Mr. Moxam said he believes the 2015 party would be no different.
“The bar is open and we’ll have both floors [open],” said Mr. Moxam. “It’s a great opportunity. We’re hoping everyone comes out to enjoy the [Pirates Week] show, enjoy the food.”
The restaurant will serve only a limited menu in its opening days, but Mr. Moxam said in the longer term there would be some significant changes to the food choices from what previous patrons of Breezes were accustomed to. He said the restaurant has a new chef and will focus a bit more on local food products.
The business will keep the name Breezes by the Bay, and the ownership of the building that houses it will not change hands as part of the restaurant purchase deal, Mr. Moxam said.
Mr. Moxam is already significantly invested in downtown George Town, having purchased the former Hammerheads bar on the northern end of waterfront from the Dilbert family and rebranded it as Cayman Cabana. The Cabana opened in 2012 and has been doing well so far, Mr. Moxam said.
He said he had brief discussions with the former owners of Breezes in April when the restaurant closed, but ove for the property just prior to what looked to be a long, slow off-season for tourism.
“Summer in the restaurant business in George Town is not the time to make an investment,” he said.
However, an opportunity came up again in just the last few weeks to purchase Breezes, he said, adding, “It did catch me by surprise.”
The agreement was put together quickly, but Mr. Moxam guaranteed Breezes would open by Friday.
The group that formerly ran Breezes, Tropical Trader Restaurant Group, decided to close the restaurant in April in order to concentrate on its other Grand Cayman restaurants – Chicken! Chicken! and Cimboco.
Group director Cliff Woods said in March that George Town had become “challenging” for the restaurant business in recent years, with several eateries closing up shop around the area, including Bacchus, Al La Kebab (replaced by Burger King), Senor Frogs and Corita’s Copper Kettle (replaced by Bread & Chocolate). The Hard Rock Café on the waterfront also closed briefly due to a franchising dispute, but has since reopened in the same location.
Mr. Woods said he had hoped someone else would take over the Breezes space and “figure out what we should have done differently.”