Insurance agent fired up about new food venture
Fantastic Four Bar and Grill serving gourmet fare in Bog Walk
Insurance agent George Sutherland knows a lot about the rewards and dangers of risk. And that’s why the 26-year-old was fired up to launch a new eatery on Main Street in Bog Walk, St Catherine.
The restaurateur said he was determined not to fall in the pale of your standard fried chicken joint that can be found a dime a dozen across Jamaica.
Fantastic Four Bar and Grill offers an array of gourmet dishes like chicken Alfredo and sorrel-glazed or lemon chicken, but still makes room for palates that stick to traditional fare such as ackee and salt fish, curried goat, stewed beef, sweet potato and diced pumpkin, among other treats.
“I have seen that Bog Walk needed a lift in the availability [of food options]. Therefore, having started the restaurant, the name allows me to think beyond the rice, peas and chicken. That’s how the Alfredo and other such dishes started,” Sutherland told Food recently.
The coronavirus pandemic gutted hundreds of businesses, haemorrhaging more than 100,000 jobs and sapping investor confidence in 2020. Though many of those jobs have returned, Jamaica is not yet out of the woods, with infections topping 46,100. Almost 800 people have died.
Sutherland said that COVID-19 forced him to get creative and take up the gauntlet, even with the additional expenses associated with sanitisation and other safety protocols.
“I see each crisis as an opportunity. That’s why I am in insurance. It’s just an investment in life, as people must eat well,” Sutherland said.
That entrepreneurial zeal drove him to launch the bar and grill, located on a well-appointed property across from the post office and service station near the town centre.
“We opened our doors here in February, as we realised the need for alternative dining and lyming. We like the spacious setting, with the lush, green lawn for outdoor activities. We are still growing,” Sutherland said.
Fantastic Four sources produce from the Bog Walk or Linstead markets, as well as from several farmers.
The business also employs five persons.
“We use a great amount of herbs in our dishes to capture the true essence. We do herb-roasted potatoes, yam salads in mayonnaise, and a host of other tasty dishes that we prepared from scratch,” Chef Andre O’Connor said.
O’Connor, 32, who received his culinary training at the HEART Academy, has worked as far off as Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, serving United States soldiers at the naval base. He has also done chef duties at Merl Grove High School and in the tourism industry.
The diversity on Fantastic’s menu is gathering traction among commuters in the bustling rural town.
“I really enjoy the service here. The food variety is wide, and the taste is delicious, and the prices are competitive,” said Melonie Beecher, a patron.
“It adds spunk and style to dining this side.”
For Glenville Chambers, location means everything.
“I am at the gas station where my vehicle is being serviced, and I was able to just step across and had a very well-prepared, peppered steak. It is a great treat,” Chambers said.