This article was written by Claudia Hodge of VI Life & Style Magazine – https://vilifeandstyle.com/lets-taco-bout-it-tradewinds-bar-grill/
Tucked away in a somewhat hidden alcove in Kingston is where you can “Taco Bout It” with Tradewinds. Although it has a feel of always being there, it was only December 2019 when the- proprietors Marquese “Queso” Maduro and Shamora “Molly” Penn first opened their doors an idea that was born pre-Irma and Maria, 2017. When asked if their plans were derailed, they both simultaneously answered ‘No’. It was at that time they knew they had to bring their vision to fruition.
But as we all know, things are a bit slow paced in the BVI. It took them a few years to bring their vision full circle. Initially they planned on supplementing the historical Anglican Church next door, as it was often a tour stop for tourists. Tradewinds would be there to offer much needed island libations, cocktails, restrooms and a relaxation space. Hurricanes Irma and Maria however, delayed the church’s restoration, but the Dynamic Duo (as I call them), pushed ahead with their plans.
They knew they wanted to bring a different product to the Territory. They knew they had to get it right the first time. They knew location mattered and they decided, ‘let’s build it and they will come’. Queso and Molly toyed with several ideas in their quest to find their niche. Molly recalled having an “ah hah” moment and thus a Mexican restaurant was born, beginning their exciting, exotic, culinary journey. At this point, the journey began.
The Dynamic Duo remembers that when they showed up on the site after Hurricane Irma, the container was still intact, just as they left it. They took this as a sign from the “Most High” that they should move forward with their plans. Queso, who has degrees in Engineering, recalls the struggles and road blocks they endured in setting up the kitchen. The concept of a container bar and restaurant was new and different to the Territory. It was all hands on deck effort to bring their ideas and plans to fruition. The coined phrase ‘it takes a village” proves true to this success story. Queso and Molly praise the support and assistance they received from their “Village” which includes Messrs, Ephraim Penn, Brian Maduro, Junior Ranger and others who believed in them and their vision. Queso is proud of the product and wants it to be a template for an option that is available and sustainable.
With inspiration from Mr Ephriam Penn, the Dynamic Duo knew it was time to launch Tradewinds. In one bold step and amidst the pandemic, Tradewinds started offering their Mexican Menu in March but not without ensuring that the business was efficiently staffed.
Like most new businesses in the BVI, staffing is always an issue, and the Dynamic Duo knows this well. Great front-of-house staff members are not just the face of the brand; they are the key to building a strong, sustainable brand. And even more important to any restaurant’s success is consistently great food. They were blessed to snag authentic Mexican Chef Ronay as the talent in the kitchen. They continue to tap into the local labour pool, including the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, to secure a dream-team staff that embraces their vision with passion, and delivers quality customer service with dedication to help build Tradewinds as a premier business in the Territory.
Chef Ronay does not disappoint. He serves up traditional Mexican dishes with a cultural Virgin Islands twist. True to Mexican culture, Chef Ronay ensures each dish is crafted with love, is savoury, colourful, packed with earthy flavours and fresh herbs, many grown on the premises. Imagine a rice bowl where you get to eat not just the contents. The edible bowl is literally good to the bite and the freshness of each dish can be tasted in the daily baked tortilla shells and rice bowls.
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