Saturday, November 27, 2010

Business expands restaurant offerings

By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA- Months after 78 workers lost their jobs following the closure of three restaurants in the Port Lucaya Marketplace, local businessman Mario Dinato has hired several of them for a new business venture.
Dinato has acquired only the name for East and La Dolce Vita previously operated by Rick Hayward and has moved both restaurants to his Pier One Restaurant location at the Lucayan Harbour.
Back in September Hayward closed The Pub, La Dolce Vita and East restaurants after an ongoing dispute with the Port Group Limited over rent.
Employees are currently preparing to take legal action to recoup severance pay owed to them.
Speaking to The Freeport News yesterday, Dinato said that Hayward agreed to give him the names of the restaurants and he plans to serve similar offerings to the Grand Bahama community with some of the original staff.
"I have re-employed about nine persons from both restaurants and as business picks up I hope to take on more of those employees," Dinato said
He added that he hopes residents and visitors will warm up to the idea of the all inclusive location with an ideal scenery that cannot be found anywhere else on the island.
The Freeport News visited the restaurants yesterday and employees seemed grateful to be employed again.
Meanwhile, Selvin Newbold, former executive chef of La Dolce Vita and former Chef at East Marshal Bernard, who left months before the closure, said that persons would be able to get their menu favourites from the two restaurants, including Pier One's Bahamian cuisine.
"We have incorporated everything so that we will be able to satisfy our old customers and Pier One's customers."
"They can expect a variety of food under a whole different concept. It's Italian, Asian and Bahamian styles."
Though there was the concern that the new location may be a bit far out than they are used to, the chefs said that once they experience it, it would be worth their while.
Dinato said that the concept will open the market, attract more visitors and give locals a new and exciting experience.
While employees of Hayward's restaurants still intend to take action against their former boss (Hayward) for monies owed to them, they hope that customers will welcome the new location.

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