St Elizabeth chef sets up riverside restaurant
Geoffrey Montaque, the proprietor of Cotton Tree Drive-Through Restaurant in St Elizabeth, is using one stone to kill two birds.
Montaque, who is from Dry River district in the northwestern section of the parish, operates from beneath a big cotton tree on the riverside in nearby Maggotty area. He said that his aim is to feed customers while providing an outlet for farmers to sell their produce.
“The whole system is for the community, where I am trying to set myself as a source, where everybody can come and sell so they can send them youths to school. Everybody depends on each other,” he said.
“It’s about making sure all the farmers have a destination where they can sell produce. Even the fishermen on the river behind my restaurant have somewhere to sell.”
One of Montaque’s best-sellers is the ital soup. Its main ingredients are red peas, ground provisions, coconut milk and vegetable noodles.
Corn, jerked chicken, cow foot, stewed chicken, rice and peas, ground provisions are also on the daily menu.
Montaque, who has been operating the business now for just about one year, said he buys an average of 300 pounds of yam, 40 pounds of scallion and thyme and 50 pounds of chicken from members of the community.
His business overlooks Maggotty High and Glen Stuart Primary schools, and his main customers are truck and taxi drivers as well as residents.
Montaque dreams of turning the area into a tourist attraction.
“I want to set it up where persons can come by and take pictures and relax on the riverside while having a beer,” said Montaque, adding that the cotton tree is about 19 feet tall.
“This is going to be a growing destination where you can come and have a beer, have piece of roast yam, take pictures in the hollow cotton tree and enjoy the view of the river,” he added.