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Fresh Catch – Local Restaurant in Grace Bay

On October 1st the Grace Bay area welcomed a new restaurant, serving authentic local cuisine – Fresh Catch. The restaurant is located in the heart of Grace Bay at the Salt Mills Plaza in Unit 6.

Fresh Catch touts itself as the only “real” local food restaurant in Grace Bay and I couldn’t agree more! After having tried the restaurant for breakfast and lunch I can say that a local restaurant in this area was much needed.

The menu includes island dishes such as chicken souse, grilled lobster and visitor’s favourites conch fritters and conch salad.

The casual restaurant has been a hit for locals and tourists and for service and taste the restaurant deserves an A+.

Owner of the restaurant, Janardo Laporte is a saxophonist and singer well known for his performances at various resorts and functions throughout the islands.

Add Fresh Catch to your “must visit” list during your vacation for a true taste of the Turks and Caicos!

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When Janardo Laporte was a kid, his father ran one of the most popular local restaurants on the island – Fast Eddie’s. His mother, meanwhile, loved to cook for other people. If you told Jacynth Laporte you were hungry, you had to be prepared to eat at least a few meals.

So it’s no surprise that at 24, Janardo decided to borrow secret recipes and tips from his parents to open a restaurant of his own.

“Even if I wanted to, I probably couldn’t get away from it,” says Janardo, now 25 and owner of Fresh Catch in Grace Bay.

As Janardo was working to open a place of his own, he looked to the Grace Bay strip. While the area had plenty of restaurant choices, Janardo noticed a lack of truly local options. He decided to add some TCI flavor to the mix.

“Why not have a piece of the Turks and Caicos in walking distance?” Janardo says.

Janardo opened up shop in October 2012, renting a small corner space in Salt Mills plaza. A year later, the restaurant underwent renovations, expanding to twice its original size to make it more visible to passersby and accommodate a growing customer base.

The inside of the restaurant has a cool, clean vibe. On the restaurant walls are iconic images of the island – a Queen conch, a fishing boat, Mudjin Harbour on Middle Caicos. Smooth jazz plays throughout the restaurant in the mornings and evenings. Some of that music is Janardo’s – he’s also a saxophonist and a highly sought-after musician on the island. At lunchtime – the busiest time for Fresh Catch – the music is less subdued, more energetic, to match the afternoon frenzy.

The menu offers a variety of local options, from conch served any way you like it to steamed fish. On Fridays only, the restaurant serves Jacynth Laporte’s famous peas soup and dough – and it goes fast.

“It’s been a family thing since I can remember,” Janardo says.

The recipe for the soup, though, is a secret – as are most of the recipes at Fresh Catch.

Many of the dishes on the restaurant’s menu came from Janardo’s father, Eddie, who passed on his recipes to his youngest son only. When Janardo would ask his father how to make a dish, Eddie wouldn’t tell him. Instead, he would take Janardo into the kitchen and show him.

“He grew up in the restaurant business right with us,” says Eddie, who now offers his own private catering services. “So I guess he had no other choice.”

Fresh Catch has been a success so far, though, if you ask Eddie. So, too, say his customers.

“It’s extremely affordable for the Grace Bay area,” says Jessie Forbes, who works at First Caribbean International Bank in walking distance from Fresh Catch. “The food is extremely good and the staff – they make everybody feel kind of at home.”

Jessie frequents the restaurant about three times a week. He’s partial to the restaurant’s salads and jerk chicken. What sets Fresh Catch apart from other nearby restaurants, Jessie says, is its local essence.

“You want a little touch of Turks and Caicos,” he says.

And Janardo works hard to ensure his customers are happy. The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. every day, and Janardo is there for most of those 14 hours. Four evenings out of the week, he works around the restaurant schedule to play the saxophone at various resorts.

“When I’m on the stage, most of the time my mind is here,” Janardo says.

And it’s that attention and care for his restaurant that keeps customers – local regulars and tourists alike – coming back day after day.

“It makes me feel like I’m doing something right,” Janardo says.

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