Restaurant owner’s Midas touch lands on East End
Businessman Marico Thomas plans to expand his empire into the East End with businesses that could create up to 70 jobs, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
Mr Thomas has planning permission to launch a drive-through restaurant in St David’s and has applied for permission to revamp the old George & Dragon pub in St George as a takeaway and dine-in restaurant.
He said that the opening of the new St Regis Hotel in May promised a rebirth for the area.
Mr Thomas added: “Hamilton and Dockyard have had their time of development and attention – now it’s time for St George’s to have its renaissance.
“It is great to see the investment in the St Regis Hotel – what they are doing down there I think can be the catalyst for St George’s.”
Mr Thomas added: “We are enthusiastic but have to be careful in order to make it sustainable.
“There are steps that need to be taken but we are demonstrating we are serious by making the submission to planning.”
The restaurant in St George could generate up to 45 jobs and the St David’s business could create up to 25.
Mr Thomas said the two restaurants could be up and running inside four to six months.
But he added plans were on hold while discussions were held with the Government, the Corporation of St George, banks and the Bermuda Land Development Company.
Mr Thomas said: “We have something that works under normal circumstances and during a Covid-19 recessionary period – expanding into the eastern end is what we can do to help get the economy going.
“From the banks we might need financial support, from the government we may need fast permissions or concessions – these conversations are taking place.”
He asked: “There is a risk during this Covid period, so what can we do to reduce that risk?
“We are looking to make sure that we have the right support from the powers that be in St George’s and via the government to enable a project of this size to be successful.”
Mr Thomas’s business interests include Four Star Pizza, Burger Shack and Glaze Bakery and he signalled he wanted to launch to launch a new company focused on Mexican food.
He said several types of food could be offered at the location at the former pub on the Olde Towne’s Kings Square.
Mr Thomas added: “We have the capacity for pizza, Indian and Chinese cuisine, we have a burger brand and pastry cake, ice cream and coffee brand.
“We are looking to bring all of those offerings into the area of St George’s, whether in one or multiple locations.”
Jobs would include managers, kitchen staff, waiters, order takers and delivery staff, as well as maintenance personnel.
Mr Thomas said: “It is a great time for the East End generally – we believe in the direction that St George’s is heading.
“We are serious about providing a meaningful and wide-ranging culinary experience that our different brands can represent.”
He added he was about to open a restaurant in Flatts Village, which had been delayed because of the pandemic.
Mr Thomas said: “It will be a Cheesecake Factory type experience with food from multiple concepts. We have the same capacity to do that in St George.
“My expectation is that we should be able to open seven days a week.
“We have a desire to bring food fun to the east end.”
George Dowling III, the Mayor of St George’s, said the news was a welcome boost for the Olde Towne.
He added: “The timing is good for something like this – it is a fantastic initiative.
“The building he has put in the planning permission for is in need of repair so we would welcome that.
“It is next to the Bank of Butterfield and the Town Hall, which are historic and listed buildings.
Mr Dowling added: “I am thankful that Mr Thomas has the gumption to step in and create a project there, I wish him the best.
“I have no doubt that it will be successful given the location and there is lots going on with the hotel opening on May 22.
Mr Dowling added The White Horse bar and restaurant had been taken over by Dennie O’Connor’s Beach Boys operation, which has the outdoor bar at Tobacco Bay, and had “brought with it a loyal following”.
He said: “Add Mr Thomas’s venture to the mix and it will bring much added value to the square.
“When we have people who are willing to invest in St George’s, we can create a St George’s economy.”