Huckleberry Restaurant open for lunch again
The Rosedon Hotel’s Huckleberry Restaurant resumes lunch service today after closure because of a kitchen renovation project.
The project is part of an expansion programme at the high-end eatery at Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke.
“When the pandemic began we had to close the hotel until we had tourism again,” said Scott Kitson who co-owns the hotel with Lee Petty. “We struggled with what that meant. But the silver lining was that our management team was then able to just focus on the restaurant without the hotel. That led us to grow and develop it at an incredibly fast speed.”
He said gone are the days when there was a sign at the bottom of the drive saying ‘Hotel guests only’.
“When we first opened Huckleberry in 2017, it was meant to be an amenity to the hotel,” Mr Kitson said.
But with the pandemic came a big shift in their customer base.
"We have become almost entirely focused on locals,“ he said. “We are proud that we consider ourselves open to the broader public of Bermuda.”
With the hotel’s increased popularity came more demand for seating, al fresco dining and for more separation from other diners during the pandemic.
“Last year we converted our hotel reception area into a dining room,“ Mr Kitson said.
“We were incredibly fortunate that we had all the outdoor space on the front porch which was very popular. We also expanded down to the pool with a 40ft pergola that can handle 40 people.
“We use that with some of our wine tastings and private lunches and dinners. It has tables and a full bar. Because it is covered it is less dependent on the weather.”
The pergola is called Finn’s Terrace.
“It is much less dependent on the weather,” Mr Kitson said.
Before expansion they could seat around 40 people. They have now doubled that.
But that caused a squeeze on kitchen space.
“It is a great kitchen,” Mr Kitson said. “But it was not set up to do the kind of volume with the various event spaces that we have. We had people show up and ask to do an event with 40 people. We had never counted on that.”
Mr Kitson was determined that things were going to be done right.
“We have to be able to deliver food in a way and at a quality that meets our standards,” he said. “Especially with Bermuda being so small, we do not want to disappoint people. We know we are at the high end of the market, but we want people to walk away feeling they got value for money.”
Work to expand a storage area into kitchen space began in January. It is still not fully completed, and the hotel is using a different area to produce food at the moment.
During the construction of the new kitchen area, several staff members came together to help with clean-up and removal of debris.
“We are really grateful to our staff,” Mr Kitson said.
One of the challenges during the renovations has been coping with global shipping delays that have become common since Covid-19 began.
“Some of the equipment we ordered in August still has not come,” he said. “Some of it is scheduled to come next summer. But that will not stop us from performing.”
Huckleberry will introduce a new menu next month, but old favourites such as the Huckleberry salad and the chicken and fish sandwiches will remain.
“Our sandwiches are really popular,” Mr Kitson said. “We bake all of our own breads in-house. We also have a couple of different gardens and an orchard we have been nursing for a couple of years. Our new menu will highlight more local purveyors and items from our own orchard and gardens.”
They are using some of the herbs from their garden to make cocktails, and their own lemons to make their Bermuda lemon cronuts.
Mr Kitson hopes that the tourist market returns and adds to the demand for Huckleberry.
“I think we will work our way out of this and start getting back to better travel,” he said. “But nothing is certain in the uncertainty of Covid-19.”
They have been grateful to regular guests and fans for their patience during the extended closure.
“It is in order to better serve them and increase our potential,” he said. “The whole team look forward to welcoming them back.”
Dinner service is tentatively scheduled to resume later this month.
Huckleberry is now open for lunch Tuesdays to Fridays from 11.30am to 3pm. Takeout and delivery service is available during in-house dining operating hours.
For more information see huckleberrybda.com, call 478-2256 or e-mail info@HuckleberryBDA.com.