Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
SPUR TREE, Manchester:JOURNEYING ALONG the popular Spur Tree Hill in Manchester, one might just come across the very popular Alex Curry Goat Spot, which is reputed for serving one of the best curried goat meals in Jamaica.
The business is operated by Judith Alexander Mair, daughter of Arthur and Monica Alexander who had established the business more than 40 years ago.
"My mother was from nearby Spice Grove, and my father from right here at Eglington," Mair said. They got married when my mother was 17 and my dad 29. They were married for 50 years."
Mair added: "My father used to work at Kaiser and at Alpart (bauxite companies) for years until he got a back injury. So it was then he decided - along with my mom - to start the restaurant at this spot on Spur Tree."
Her father had a farm where he raised animals. He was also a licensed butcher, so he butchered for himself a steady flow of local rams.
Alex Curry Goat Spot over the years became a favourite for lovers of curried goat, white rice with banana, and also mannish water.
People from near and far would stop and have their fair share of the popular Jamaican dish.
"In the early days, workers from Alpart would come up for lunch," Mair said. "We also had lots of people who just heard about the restaurant and come here, or people just stop when they are passing this way. We had lots of regular customers."
In 2003, her parents passed away. They died eight days apart.
MAINTAINING THE STANDARD
In 2006, Mair decided to continue the business and also maintain the standard.
"A man came from the (United) States (and) said that the curry there didn't taste like ours and asked what I used to cook it," Mair said. "He laughed and said that I shouldn't tell anyone, but we just have our special way of preparing it, which includes using only natural seasoning. My parents stood for that and I am not changing it."
Mair, who is the wife of retired lecturer at Church Teachers' College, Karlem Mair, said for the last four years, business has scaled down.
"Business is not like before, especially with Alpart and Kirkvine closing," she said. "There have also been other curried goat restaurants on the stretch - and other restaurants - so the competition is greater. I am hoping, though, to maintain the business with the hope that things will get better soon."