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Restaurant aims to delight with family feel

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Pride of place: the central table at Village Pantry, in Flatts, can host a family or large group. It was built from wood salvaged from the former Chewstick Hub on Front Street. The table is the exact size of the popular central table at Devil’s Isle in Hamilton (Photograph supplied)

A new restaurant has opened in Flatts, boasting a healthy eating philosophy and with a particularly family and children-friendly outlook.

Village Pantry has also hired Bermudians to fill a number of roles, offers a car valet service for customers who don’t want to go hunting for a parking slot, and has heated and weather-protected outdoor areas.

In the few days since it opened, the restaurant has been well received, said Holger Eiselt, managing director of Take Five Ltd, which also operates Devil’s Isle restaurant and bar in Hamilton.

“The response has been great. Everyone who has walked in has loved the transformation,” said Mr Eiselt.

The new restaurant is on North Shore Road, and occupies the premises that formerly housed Rustico before it relocated a short distance down the road.

Village Pantry has a central table, big enough for family groups or a large party. It was constructed from recycled wood salvaged from the Chewstick Hub after the fire on Front Street in July. The restaurant is supporting Chewstick through a donations box at the main counter.

The table is the exact size of the central table that has proved popular with customers at Devil’s Isle.

When Rustico vacated the building in the centre of Flatts, the owners of Devil’s Isle were approached to see if they were interested in taking over the space. They welcomed the opportunity and set to work revamping the restaurant.

The eye-catching interior was designed by Kaitlyn O’Hara, of Isolated Design, while the outside areas were reconfigured and now allow the restaurant to cater for up to 100 customers.

At the front is an enclosed seating area, complete with two small gates that provide extra security for customers with small children who might otherwise wander out to the roadside.

The side garden area has children-friendly facilities. The outdoor seating areas, which are heated during the winter, can be covered and enclosed against bad weather.

The restaurant now has four restrooms, two more than previously, and they are gender neutral. Village Pantry is wheelchair-accessible, as is one of the bathrooms.

Commenting on the healthy food philosophy, Mr Eiselt said the business had worked closely with nutritionist Catherine Burns to ensure the menu features quality ingredients. There is an extensive vegetarian selection, meat and fish dishes and French-style flatbreads. Helpful icons on the menu alert customers who may have food allergies to items that contain dairy, nuts, eggs, gluten or shellfish.

During the week, the restaurant is open from 8am until late in the evening, while at weekends service starts 9am.

“We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. People can also come in for a coffee and a cake or snack. Coffee is still one of our strong focuses,” said Mr Eiselt.

There is a range of juices and smoothies, again with input from Ms Burns.

The menu has been designed by head chef Paulo Izzguirre and executive chef Jason Berwick.

The restaurant has taken on five Bermudians to work on the main floor, with a further three operating the car valet service, and two in the kitchen, while Bermudian bartender Dylan Simons is helping to train others.

Anna Horsefield and Gesine Eiselt are the restaurant managers. Ms Eiselt said: “The way we manage the place, we treat each other with a lot of respect. We are all friends. It is like a family. And the regulars like the family feel.”

Devil’s Isle opened two years ago, and a number of its regular customers have already dropped in at Village Pantry to give it a try — and the thumbs up, including members of Oracle Team USA.

Mr Eiselt said he feels it is a good time for a new restaurant to open in Flatts, and he is encouraged by the island’s improving economy and the prospect of more visitors for next year’s America’s Cup event.

One of the dining areas at Village Pantry, which has opened in Flatts (Photograph supplied)
Stylish interior: inside Village Pantry, in Flatts (Photograph supplied)