How do you stand out in a very saturated dining market? That’s what we wanted to know from Jenzil Skerritt, co-owner of Nanny’s Cafe.
Skerritt took the plunge in 2015 in partnership with his girlfriend and head chef Venice Jones to take over The Lyme which was a popular bar in Brades and turned it into a restaurant.
The formula is simple Skerritt says. “Serve good food and make your customers happy.”
Although Montserrat has been going through some very noticeable economic challenges he said he didn’t let that deter them from opening Nanny’s. “People have to eat despite what is going on. The plan was simply to treat our customers well.”
Nanny’s Cafe is open six days a week serving lunch and dinner. While the cuisine is very Caribbean, the prices are comfortable which has made it a regular jaunt of young professionals.
“I’m learning a lot every day,” he said. “I love seeing people happy. Knowing that you’re providing a service and they are still smiling when they leave your place makes me feel good.”
The former UTech graduate initially opened a property management company when he returned from university. However, things were moving slowly and since he’d caught the business bug, he figured his skills were transferable to the restaurant sector.
“I grew up in a family where different members had businesses. My maternal grandfather was a contractor and my mom has been in floral business for quite some time. My paternal grandmother was also a business woman. Owning my own venture was always in my future and just a matter of when, where and what.”
Venice Jones, also went to UTech where she obtained a culinary arts degree. Her focus is on ensuring the kitchen turns out tasty and filling dishes daily. The regular menu includes stewed and baked pork, stewed beef, chicken, shrimp and local fish. Lots of healthy sides are available to choose from. Saturday follows a local and very Caribbean tradition of serving soup. They welcome special orders for soup so they can offer different variations on the very filling dish.
While the couple make a good team, they don’t try to do it alone. Along with the support of staff, they also pull on the advice from the Rotarians of which Jenzil is a member. His advice to other aspiring and young entrepreneurs is to “do your market research. If you have an idea and you think it has a viable market then test it. Start small then grow from there. Don’t give up cause when you give up that is when you stop growing.”
Nanny’s Cafe is also popular on Wednesday evening’s for karaoke and after work on Fridays, where everyone is ready to let down their hair and enjoy good food, drinks and great company.
Music is always pumping and Jenzil invites customers to celebrate their special occasions with them. “I love celebrations of life. We’re only here once.