Restaurateurs seek to reopen COVID-closed venues

The Lighthouse is one of several set to open under new ownership.

The Lighthouse Restaurant, which closed down in October, is being resurrected as a vegan restaurant.

Cayman’s iconic Lighthouse restaurant, which closed in October after 28 years, is set to reopen as a vegan venue.

New owner Jeremy Hartnell told members of the Liquor Licensing Board Monday that if they approved his application for restaurant, retail, music and dance licences, he planned to serve only plant-based foods on the menu.

The Lighthouse was one of several restaurants and bars forced to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hartnell was among a number of applicants who came forward at Monday’s meeting seeking licences that would allow them to return to business on those sites.

Telling the board that he wanted to bring the Lighthouse “back to life”, Hartnell said he would reopen the restaurant as soon as possible after being granted the licences. Hartnell, trading under the company name Mambo Italiano Ltd., said the restaurant would serve “Italian food with a twist”.

Another restaurant that has served Cayman for decades is Eduardo’s at Coconut Plaza on West Bay Road, which closed in August. The owners of Mexican restaurant Casa 43, Max Hillier and Lloyd Brown, have taken over that restaurant and plan to reopen it as Lloyd’s Smokehouse and Grill.

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They applied for restaurant, music and dance licences at Monday’s meeting, but said they did not intend the venue to be a club – that it would be a restaurant and bar. An outdoor area at the premises would remain as a seating area. A bar that had previously been in the outdoor space had been removed, Hillier said.

At West Shore Plaza, two new Cuban venues owned by the same company, Mio Y Tuyo Ltd., may replace Mariposa Cabaret, a pole-dancing club, and the Little Havana Cigar Bar in the centre of the shopping plaza.

The applicants said they planned that the former Mariposa site would be turned into a Cuban restaurant and bar called Cuba Libre, serving Cuban food and offering salsa evenings. If approval is given, the Little Havana venue will be renamed The Cuban House and will be a cigar lounge, the board heard.

Cox Lumber site to be a Blackbeard’s

The Cox Lumber site on Eastern Avenue, which has been closed since November 2017, is set to become a liquor store, if the board approves the application.

Blackbeard’s applied for distributor, package and retail tasting licences for the location at Monday’s meeting. The company plans to have a Cayman Distribution Group distribution centre in the warehouse area, with a liquor store and retail tasting area at the front of the store.

If all goes according to plan, the company’s representative said Blackbeard’s is expected to be open at the site in May next year.

Board warns against loitering outside liquor stores

The board also heard applications for several new ‘package’ licences for liquor or convenience stores. Package licences give the licence-owner the right to sell alcohol to take away.

Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board Noel Williams stated several times during the meeting that licence-holders needed to ensure security and CCTV cameras were provided at these properties, so that people do not loiter outside after buying alcohol.

“We don’t want people congregating around the area and drinking. We are cutting down on all of this,” Williams told one applicant.

The board took particular note of an application for a convenience store called Just Rite, on McField Lane. Kyel West applied for a package licence to sell alcohol at the site, which formerly housed a restaurant called Alliance, which closed in August. The board members pointed out that the area outside this venue had been subject to a number of complaints about people loitering.

West assured the board that no loitering would be permitted, and that tables and chairs in an area outside the venue had been removed. Weekend fish fries that had been attracting people to eat and hang out at the site had been discontinued, he said.

Another business that has applied for a licence is Shalico Christian’s Wine School, which offers bartending courses. Christian said the company is seeking a mobile retail licence, adding that his company has been working with Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman and the Marriott to train Caymanians in bartending.

The board’s decisions on the applications are expected to be released Wednesday, 9 Dec.

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