Marina Palms where Good Food Is Plated
Lobster thermidor (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)

Diedrick Miller, through happenstance, got wind that a restaurant space by the sea in the Freeport area of Montego Bay was available; a long-held dream came true.

"We started to put ideas together and the target market at the time would mainly be cruise ship passengers as well as airway passengers and to a lesser extent BPO players and the wider Montego Bay. We were set to open April 2020 but with the onset of COVID in March we had to scrap all our marketing plans and target market. Operations commenced in July and our focus shifted to penetrating the local market, and persons responded positively to our offerings. A main feature is that we do not sell frozen fish from overseas; with the exception of salmon, everything is caught and sold within a 24-hour period. Our wide selection of cocktail options is another major draw," Miller explained.

"We have an excellent location, great menu offerings but the customer service makes our customers feel at home and this is something they have expressed to me. We go the extra mile to know our customers' names, preferences and pet peeves. When they come, if they like coffee done a certain way, dishes prepared to their preference, it is served without them having to ask for it. Even if it's having a preference for room temperature water as opposed to cold, we keep it in mind," Miller added.

Miller also spoke about keeping true to the points that keep customer retention high and seeing customers now coming from all across the island, giving rise to expansion plans.

"We do everything that helps to maintain our existing customer base and try not to do [special] offers that will strain the staff and lead to lowering in customer service quality. We have heavy traffic from across the island; we are already looking into other locations and moving into doing catering on a larger scale," Miller said.

"We are a Jamaican restaurant; even though we are located by the sea, the focus is not necessarily seafood. The house favourite is oxtail, which goes through a more than eight-hour cooking process. The prepped oxtail with all-natural seasonings is put into a brine, slow-baked for eight hours and then it's cooked, giving it a distinctive taste. Our curry goat is another major drawing card. Our produce, goats and chickens are all locally raised. This stemmed from during the pandemic when we were approached by individuals who had to give up their corporate jobs and turn to farming, [so] we decided that we would support their businesses," Miller explained.

Miller has been grateful for the response, which has been phenomenal. But he is also acknowledges the team, which is instrumental in the success.

"I've always said when our sign was going up others were coming down. So, we're always mindful that locals have sacrificed, saved to come here to enjoy a birthday dinner or make it their second home. There are other options; as a matter of fact, you would have to pass everywhere else to get here. So, on days when we are at capacity, we're grateful. The team also makes all the difference as they have gone over and beyond for our customers," Miller stated.

— Photos & text by Aceion Cunningham

Marina Palms

Address: Freeport, Montego Bay

St James

Tele: 876-999-6238

Email: Marinapalmsja@gmail.com

Lobster cakes (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Chef Verna Reid presents the lobster thermidor served with rice and peas. (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Turmeric and coconut shrimp (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
The Palms grilled salmon (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
BBQ spare ribs (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
From left: Line staff team members Carleen White, Meggan Sparks, Shavan Laird and chefs Chantine Calame, Shaniel Stewart and Verna Reid (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Marina Palms principal Diedrick Miller (right) with staff members (from left) servers Romario Tummings, Tejordon Suckoo, and supervisor Shadeba Rhoden (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Panko shrimp (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Shrimp pasta (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Chef Chantine Calame presents the turmeric and coconut shrimp. (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Bartenders Desmond Dias (left) and Shamar Purkiss (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Patrón-a-rita (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)Aceion Cunningham
Vitamin Sea (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Knot Stressin' (left) and Steel Base (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)
Marina Ice (Photo: Aceion Cunningham)

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