I’m not a big fan of restaurant hustlers. I don’t encounter them often in the U.S. . When I do encounter them, they tend to be pretty timid, merely asking if you’d like to see a menu as you pass, or, like on the seashore boardwalk, simply shout out the deals of the day, or boast of their food’s tastiness. In other places however, they can be downright pushy.
On Caye Caulker, I witnessed one restaurant worker jumping in front of groups, blocking their path and joking that he wasn’t going to let them by until they went into the restaurant.
I think those types of antics turn people off more than they encourage business. I know my assumption has been that if you have to go to those lengths to get people into your establishment, there must be something wrong. There must be some reason people aren’t going there in the first place. On this trip, my assumption was proven wrong.
We never asked his name, we simply called him “Roy’s guy.”
Roy’s is a restaurant that is located down one of the island’s side streets. Roy’s guy stood at the corner of Front Street, attempting to drum up business by encouraging passersby to take a look at the menu and turn the corner to eat at Roy’s. Maybe we just had a look, but on our first night on the island, Roy’s guy tried to persuade us every time we passed him. He and Shannon started trading humorous quips back and forth. It was all in fun, and Roy’s guy was a pretty funny, nice guy.
On our second night, we really wanted to go to one particular restaurant, Aladdin’s. We noticed a sign stating that it would open at 7 pm, so after watching the sunset, we strolled around town until 7. Once again we traded comments with Roy’s guy as we passed. At 7, we went back to Aladdin’s to find the sign gone, and the restaurant completely closed. With no other ideas about where to eat, and finding that Roy’s guy’s humor and pleasantness had worn us down, we made our way to Roy’s.
We arrived at Roy’s just in time. There were plenty of open tables, but not long after our arrival, the place started to fill up.
We started off with a couple of frozen mojitos.
Being on an island, we were craving seafood, so I got the shrimp kebabs with coconut rice, and garlic potatoes. Shannon got the shrimp fajitas.
One of the server's at Roy’s was American. This seemed to intrigue the American customers. Since she had to repeat it several times, my ears couldn’t help but pick up her story. She was a medical student doing a semester residency on the island. It sounded like a pretty awesome way to spend a semester.
Our food was great, completely destroying my theory that a restaurant with a hustler will probably be bad.
My kebabs were yummy,
and I especially liked my coconut rice, and the sauce for my shrimp.
Shannon's fajitas were really good. It’s hard to beat a dish that arrives to your table in full sizzle.
On our way back to Front Street, we stopped to thank Roy’s guy and let him know that we enjoyed our meal. For the rest of our time on the island, he didn’t persuade us to come to the restaurant, but he always smiled and said,