Business

Fast food outlet goes gourmet

Mandeville gets two-for-one eatery

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012    

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ANDREA and Christopher Patmore knew nothing about the restaurant business but still managed to open

one of the most innovative dining facilities in Mandeville, Manchester.

The 'two-in-one' fastfood and fine-dining concept was not originally planned, said Andrea Patmore of the two-storey, 1,060 square-foot Star Grill restaurant she operates with her husband, Christopher, on South Race Course Road.

"We were just thinking sandwiches, but as we went along with the construction, ideas came to our head and we thought maybe we could add a fine-dining section," she said.

Star Grill held its grand opening on Saturday, almost a year after its doors opened last November. The Patmores saw it fit to open at this time, having literally spent the past year getting their feet wet in the restaurant business.

Recalling the pair's bold initiative, Andrea said her husband came up with the idea as they brainstormed to find the perfect business to start in Mandeville.

"I'm a Kingstonian, living in Manchester for the past four years, but my husband is from this side," said Andrea.

"While living in Kingston, I used to go to a lot of nice restaurants, but, after coming to Mandeville, there were really not many options," she added, noting that this prompted Christopher to make the suggestion.

On the restaurant's top floor, the fine-dining section offers gourmet meals, including jerk fish, lamb chops, steak, lobster, and shrimp. The fastfood menu offering downstairs is primarily comprised of a variety of sandwiches, including chicken, stew pork and Cajun-guava, said Andrea.

"We are trying to accommodate everybody. It's a complete dining experience and we wanted to make it affordable," Christopher interjected.

"It's an experience we are trying to create that you don't normally get at a restaurant, from the type of food to the ambience," he added.

On concept, Star Grill appears to be a 'winner'. Equipped with a drive-thru, the restaurant is located in what appears to be a prime location for vibrant business in the heart of Mandeville's town centre, in close proximity to the Inland Revenue Department and Post Office, and in a Jamaican city that is believed to have relatively higher purchasing power.

Businesses have been facing challenges recently in the South Coast town, with the economic climate negatively affected by the downturn of the bauxite industry. In fact, there was speculation recently that the Mandeville-based Odeon Cineplex movie theatre could close its doors amidst the stagnating economy coupled with increasing movie piracy.

But with patronage at Star Grill totalling some 800 diners a week so far, the Patmores think they may have stumbled upon a business that will defy the odds.

"The response has been very good, especially considering that we opened November 28 last year and have not engaged in any aggressive marketing until now," Andrea said.

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