Hard Rock Cafe now open in Montego Bay
Memorabilia dedicated to Jamaica's King of Reggae, Bob Marley, a guitar from Toots Hibbert and Black Uhuru Don Carlos' jacket are among the items in the Roots Rock Reggae Den at the new Hard Rock Cafe Montego Bay.
Jimmy Cliff and Ziggy Marley complete the Jamaican-born celebrities that grace the walls of the multimillion-dollar attraction, which was opened officially last Saturday night by Viking Productions in Montego Freeport.
"Memorabilia is what famous artists donate to Hard Rock, and this location boasts 24 pieces," revealed Andre Dixon, chief operating officer at Viking Productions, franchise holders of the globally recognised brand.
Jamaica is the third Caribbean island for Viking, having opened cafes in The Bahamas and Grand Cayman two years ago. With the US$2.5 million investment here, some 95 new jobs have been provided within the hospitality sector.
LOVE ALL, SERVE ALL
A first for the tourism capital, Hard Rock Montego Bay's mantra is 'Love All, Serve All', in sync with Jamaica's motto 'Out of Many, One People', stated Dixon.
According to the COO, Hard Rock respects the culture of its partners and looks for things that would cause people to gravitate towards the brand.
Located at the former Seawind Beach Club, Hard Rock offers its collectors fashion, music-related merchandise, live performances, and great food.
Dixon describes Jamaica as having the right synergy and reputation for great live music. "Having a Hard Rock Cafe in Montego Bay is the right choice at the right time," he noted in an interview earlier this year.
Ground was broken for the cafe towards the end of July last year.
Outside of the entertainment that the new Jamaican attraction has added to the island's offerings, the opening comes at a time when the Ministry of Tourism is placing a lot of attention on gastronomy.
Hard Rock concretises the five pillars of growth being touted by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
"It is the new products and networks, which encompasses entertainment, sports and culture that forms that critical group, which is going to underpin the growth of five million visitors by 2021," says Bartlett.
With probably the largest variety of menu items in the country with a generous assortment of appetisers, salads, USDA Angus beef hamburgers, sandwiches, entrees featuring USDA steaks, oxtail, curry shrimp, smokehouse sandwiches and ribs, desserts, specialty coffee drinks, signature Hard Rock drinks, wine, beer, non-alcoholic drinks and a kids menu, the gastronomic offerings outside of the hotels just got better.
"My favorite food items are Twisted Mac n Cheese, the Smokehouse ribs and the Oreo cookie cheesecake," said Dixon, even while he showed off the guitar deck close to the beach, which is already his favourite space on the property because of the serenity of the location and the view.
The restaurant has the ability to seat up to 420 persons between interior dining, the event room, patio, exterior deck and cabanas, which makes it one of the largest free standing restaurants in Jamaica as well.
"We plan to have a weekly live band and deejays on select nights, with additional items coming, such as Sunday brunch and a Sunday beach party," revealed Dixon.