Butterflies out Roland In

I can still recall some 25 years ago, sitting on my deck
along the shores of Frank Sound, I noticed this tall thin fellow dragging a
giant tree stump through shallow waters. Later, I saw him with a sack full of
conch shells, bits of old rope and a mangled worthless fish net. I had to
inquire of him what he was doing. In a German accent as thick as East End conch
chowder he responded,

“I’m going to be opening a new restaurant down the road.”
I laughed to myself and thought, with all the restaurants in town, who was
going to drive all the way to Breakers for a meal? A few months later, Chef
Roland Schoefer opened the Lighthouse Restaurant to a packed house… with many
more full to capacity nights to follow.

The giant tree stump was cut into layers, sanded, varnished
and transformed into unique dining room tables. The rope and fishnet were hung
from the ceilings and the conch shells were stuffed with local hibiscus
flowers. Roland was a genius at creating an Island style atmosphere. He feels
that great ambiance and good food go hand in hand. Not only does Roland have a
special vision when it comes to decor, his kitchen creations are equally famous
island wide. We all remember those creamy mushroom appetisers served in a hot
skillet direct from the oven, or the magic he can create with whelk, conch and
other local seafood. The roulade (beef roll), spaetzle, bratwurst and German
potato salads.

After the Lighthouse era Roland moved to the Treasure Isle
Hotel, then on to Captain Morgan’s Steak House in the West Shore Plaza, which
was followed by a long run at the original Roland’s Gardens in the Cottage area
of East End. Roland’s Gardens was such a huge success that it was nearly
impossible to acquire a seat without a well advanced reservation. Visitors
would call from across the USA to reserve their seats before arriving on
island.

Prepare your pallet; Roland is back at a new location, the
old Butterfly Farm across from the Marquis Plaza. This time he’s outdone
himself with atmosphere. You sit in a lush garden while birds and geckos chirp
along to the soft background music. The furnishings are simple, picnic tables
and lounge style chairs, nautical lanterns and a mix of keepsakes from his
three decades of chef-ing in these islands. The menu is startling, “you get
what we got”.

With at least five to six tapas style courses and a huge grand finale
there is bound to be something to please your taste. Excellent does not begin
to describe what Roland puts on your plate – it’s more than that, it’s a dining
experience. Chef Roland’s personal touch is another one of his famous
attributes.

He simply sits at your table, clothed in his signature apron and
t-shirt and with hand movements and much-improved English, he describes what’s
available on that day. You’ll hear about the spices, the juices, the sauces,
and the cheeses and anything in between. Prepare yourself with an empty belly
because you will be stuffed before the night is over. And should you care to
bring your own wine along for dinner, Roland has no problem with that.

In keeping with his German tradition, Roland has set up a
small beer-garden for non-diners where he offers a selection of beers on tap,
other alcoholic beverages as well as a small snack menu, at regular prices.

Besides the unique ambiance of Roland’s Gardens and the
unusual cuisine, the real treat is your bill at the end of the night. What! How
can a bill be a treat? Now that’s a pleasant surprise you’ll have to check out
for yourself… I’m not giving it away in this story. Roland’s Garden is so out of
the ordinary that the familiar, rude “No Shoes no Service” sign is missing –
and I like that.

 

For more information,

visit rolandsgarden.com or

call 946-2500 for reservations.

Butterflies out