By: Alva Solomon
When Jason Mack decided to start his own eatery several months ago, he had no idea that his food, especially his roast meats, would draw a crowd. In fact, the response has been so overwhelming that he is now considering opening his own restaurant, a dream which he said has been in the making ever since he was a child.
Jason’s eatery, which is still short of an official name, is located at the corner of Albert and Fifth Streets in Alberttown, Georgetown next door to Frenzy’s Bar. “I am really happy with what is happening here and so far everybody know the place as Jason’s, they all say they are going by Jason,” Mack told this publication during a recent visit.
He said he started the business several months ago when he decided that it was time to settle down. According to the 30-year-old Mack, he had his first child last year and he credited the baby’s birth and the beginning of his family as being the main factors which pushed him towards opening the eatery.
Working with the Brazilians“I use to work with the Brazilians – on Regent Street, then in Charlotte Street and then at Status Restaurant,” Mack said.
Visitors to those restaurants, which include the former Nice Restaurant on Regent Street, which is now at the Status Hotel on Croal Street, may have seen Mack with the sumptuous meats which he cooked and served on giant skewers.
Mack said the Brazilian restaurants served a variety of foods and he noted that for years he worked on the meats. “I was the meat person. I know to roast the chicken, pork, beef, and fish,” Mack said. He said he roasted the meats for more than a decade and according to him, persons became familiar with him at the establishments. “So, those people would come here at my place and also they bring their friends,” he related.
Mack said earlier this year, he decided that the time was ripe to start his own food business and after working out the requisite plans, he decided to cook and offer the dishes to the public at his Alberttown location. The menu includes a variety of roast meats, Brazilian dishes including the famous feijao, which is comprised of black beans cooked in a sauce, a complete dish of spaghetti, a choice of meat cut in squares, an option of farine and chowmein, cook-up rice or fried rice.
Growth of the businessMack said his business took off around August month end when he visited a few spots to advertise his food. In September, during Indigenous Heritage Month and during the hosting of the CPL T20 League, his food became a favorite for many.
“At the Umana Yana there was an event in September and I catered and all my food was sold out,” Mack said. In addition, he said during the week of sports at the Everest Ground in October, his foods were also a favorite for visitors, especially the meats.
He said it was this response which inspired him to explore his cooking skills. He said his family supported the business, including his sister and partner, who assist with the food preparation, including the cooking.
The food is usually ready by 11:00h and Mack said on many occasions, he would have to re-stock the bar while his support staff would have to cook additional food. “I would get orders, people would call and by time 2 o’clock, I would have to cook a new set of food,” he said.
And the dish in most demand? Mack said his roasted fish appeared to be a hit among local and foreign customers. He said the fish, which is seasoned with local herbs, is roasted whole over coals.
In addition to local alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, customers have also been asking about the poplar Caipirinha cocktails which are served at Easter.
Given that the menu comprises primarily Brazilian cuisine, Mack said every day he would see a large number of Brazilians coming to buy his food. “I would see a new face every day since I opened. Not only Brazilians but locals as well, some would eat right here or we also do the take-away,” he said.
On Friday evening, as Mack attended to his grill, two groups of customers arrived, making immediate orders of food and beverages. As the groups settled in, Mack and his sister and other staff busied themselves serving up plate-loads of meat, and rice and peas among other food.
Looking ahead, Mack said in the not-too-distant future, he planned to open a restaurant offering his sumptuous food and racks of meats, a memory he holds from his earlier days serving in the Brazilian restaurants in the city.