- Big plans in store for modern transformation
By Vanessa Braithwaite-Moore
When you think about visiting Linden in the 1980’s, there was not a doubt in mind, that lunch would be taken at Star Bonnet Restaurant in Industrial Area, Mackenzie, now known as Morning Star Restaurant. It had set the bar for being one of Linden’s renowned restaurants, which later expanded into a hotel and disco. It was the ideal spot, particularly for the elites, as dining at Star Bonnet, was considered a privilege. Old timers described the entire experience, from the scrumptious and attractively served food , to the heartwarming ambiance , to the spectacular customer service, as home away from home.
With the change in tide however and the establishment of several other restaurants, Star Bonnet experienced a period of difficulty, but the storm was never too strong to destroy, since the house-hold restaurant held onto the winds and kept its proper place in Linden’s hospitality sector.
The founder, Mr. Cyrus Nicholson, along with his niece Miss Shondel Nicholson-Austin, worked together over the years to ensure the restaurant remains relevant and a top-of-the-list option for visitors
In an interview with INFO 10, Mrs. Nicholson-Austin explained that the restaurant was established in the 1980’s, out of a need for a formal dining place and high-standard accommodation facility in Linden. Star Bonnet turned out to be Linden’s first all-inclusive hospitality facility; one could have dined in the restaurant, stayed in the hotel and be entertained in the disco. Persons started gravitating towards Star Bonnet .Mrs. Nicholson-Austin said it became the preferred choice for the people because of the high professionalism, variety of cuisines and standard of service.
In 2010, the restaurant was renamed Morning Star, with the commencement of new management. The business however remained in the family. While the restaurant continued to meet the needs for a particular target market, management was working behind the scenes for the materialization of a complete transformation.
Speaking on her induction into the business, Miss Nicholson-Austin said she migrated to Linden in 2000, to co-manage with her uncle and has been integrally involved, until her uncle retired a few year and she was chosen to take up the mantle. “Entertainment has always been a big thing in Linden; people work hard and sport hard and they always wanted an exclusive place, where they can have that privacy and we had a particular clientele, like managers and supervisors and I guess it met that need then and is still to a large extend, has that buzz in Linden among the older folks, when you speak of Star Bonnet, they always spoke of it as a place of elegance,” she said.
Mrs Nicholson-Austin said she is on a mission to push Morning Star, to take its rightful place in Linden’s hospitality industry, which is, “The Number One.” On the agenda is an aggressive social media promotion, expansion of the cuisines and restaurant services, with the establishment of a modern restaurant, which will be called ‘Cyrus Haus.’ There will also be the renovation of the hotel to accommodate more rooms and more accommodation services, such as complimentary breakfast and self-service. The high-end restaurant however, will be separated from the hotel, so as to give customers a sense of dining in a safe and exclusive environment. “We will also be linking with businesses that are tourism based such as tour companies, car rental….we are going to bring everything into a package, where you come, you stay at the hotel, you can still enjoy tours and if you would like to have a vehicle, it is available to you,” she revealed.
In addition, the business will go digital to accommodate renovation and bookings. She said Lindeners can be assured that the tasty food that has been prepared and served over the years, will only get better, since she is big on quality control. “When it comes to quality control, that’s my job, to ensure that the Morning Star taste, it continues and I have persons in training as well, so that I know when they take over from me, that will continue because it is a family thing.”
In the interim of ensuring these transformation plans reach fruition, Mrs. Nicholson-Austin said that the restaurant continues to offer daily lunch specials, catering services, personalized meals and customized catering services as well as accommodation.
Mrs. Nicholson-Austin said she is forever grateful to her uncle for passing the business down to her and said she will make strides ensure it returns to its glory days.