By Roger Bara….
One of the newest restaurants and take-aways in the east of the island has undergone a superb renovation and boasts a menu that can be truly described as original as it is extensive. There’s even a whole section of full plate-size Yorkshire Puddings available, filled with whatever you want in the middle! Alongside fish and chips and Indian cuisine, there is a huge range of jacket potatoes, grills, pies, pastas, and homemade burgers. And plenty more besides.
I popped down to Bogaz harbour near Iskele to have a quick chat with Maria Jerome, managing director of the extremely successful Busy Bees estate agency. Pisces and Spices is right next door.
So, why open up a new restaurant in Bogaz?
“I wanted to give the area something different. When I first came here 15 years ago, there was no industry here at all. All the restaurants in Bogaz are lovely, but they all serve basically the same type of food. Nobody, from Famagusta right up to the tip of the Karpaz, does what we do here. For locals and expats alike, there’s a mixture of different foods for all to enjoy.”
People who came when you opened last year, and who come back today will notice a huge difference….
“Oh yes. Originally, we started up as just a fish and chip shop and an Indian, including takeaways. Then, just before lockdown, with Charley Balli, who works with me at Busy Bees, we decided to acquire the shop next door and open up a restaurant. The timing was unfortunate, as we opened the restaurant just as lockdown started.”
How did you react to your doors remaining closed for so long?
“Out of lockdown, I knew it was going to be hard to do business because of the lack of visitors and always my idea in business is when sales are low, that’s the time you need to put more money in, hence the new beer garden outside in front of the restaurant. Charley and I wanted to do something different and designed it similar to something we saw over in Antalya, and again, there’s nothing like it around.”
Was there any time in that period that you felt to carry on with the restaurant was simply a no-no?
“Absolutely not. I never thought of letting the business go. I have to put money into it at the moment to cover the costs, and I’ll be prepared to do that until next spring. That’s because I know that with all the new developments we have going on in this area, there are going to be thousands of people around next year, and goodness knows how many the year after that. I’m a patient person and will see something right through to the end.”
So, what will success be for you – breaking even, making loads of money, what?
“Recognition for doing a good job. I have a successful estate agency and maintenance company, so it’s recognition that I can make a success out of this as well. Next year, I really think we’re not going to have enough tables, so the sofa and armchairs may have to go!”
Of course, we gave it a try, and judging by the empty plates afterwards, it seemed all our party of six had a great meal. Indeed we did and all of us were also complimentary about the service as well. Now it’s your turn! Opening days are every day except Monday, from 12.00 till last orders at 23.15. For reservations, or to order a take-away, call 0533 852 2968.