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Rotis restaurant to close down

Rotis, Court Street's much-loved Southern Caribbean restaurant (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Tomorrow marks a bittersweet day for the popular Caribbean restaurant Rotis, which will be closing its doors to the dismay of loyal customers.

For five years the hideout on Court Street has offered diners a congenial place to drop in and chat as well as enjoying the cuisine. Charlene and Owen Martin will be thanking their guests with a customer appreciation day, saying they have been “truly humbled” by their patronage.

One such devoted customer is Mike Charles of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, who joked that he wanted to call a protest to keep his weekend retreat open.

“That’s my favourite Saturday haunt for breakfast; you met a lot of folks there — it’s going to be a big miss,” he said.

“They would graciously prepare breakfast for me. I wouldn’t order a dish, they would just present me with something from the Caribbean, and there was always good conversation.”

Growing up in Trinidad left Mr Charles with a special fondness for Rotis cuisine. The Martins hail originally from Guyana, where the food and culture are very similar to that of Trinidad — including the restaurant’s signature dish.

“I would always leave there with a bag of food,” he said. “All good things come to an end.”

Rotis’ menu comes from the couple’s own family recipes, explained Mrs Martin. “Almost everything we did was in-house, made by all of us involved in the restaurant — all personal recipes that we have had for ever and use in our own cooking.”

Their business was built on the premise of delivering “the most authentic Caribbean rotis that there are”, but it also served dishes such as doubles, or the Guyanese speciality of cookup rice — peas and rice with chicken, which Trinidadians call pelau.

“We hope we have met that objective of having a welcoming place where people could drop by,” Mrs Martin said. “The truth is, our customers have been so incredible, it has been unbelievable for us. People will tell us when they’re going on vacation. Some customers’ children we have watched growing up over the last five years.”

Tomorrow offers a final opportunity to show the love, she added. “It will be all day long — at least until we run out of food.”

• Will you miss your favourite dish at Rotis? E-mail news@royalgazette.com