Birth of the Big Belly Roti Shop Concept
Seven years ago three men, bonded in brotherly friendship, came to the individual self-realizations that each was under-utilizing their respective creative talents. Relative to this shared epiphany, the three gave serious consideration to the notion that they were, in fact, allowing their collective human potential and energy to be exploited through toil that was devoid of social significance, impact or value. The group convened one night at a well-known and much ballyhooed NYC eatery which, in spite of its prestigious and celebrated stature, was thoroughly emblematic of the all too common, un-inspirational restaurant experience; complete with a bland atmosphere, watered down drinks and a disappointingly unsavory meal. It was during this gathering when the collective frustrations, visions and bitching of the trio ignited a conceptual spark. A pact was established amongst the three comrades to redirect and dedicate their considerable expertise, proven abilities and shared passions to the establishment of a socially relevant mission. Not too ambitious for a start.
A formal business partnership was formed and the three were soon to embark on their quest to conceive and bring forth a neighborly public institution where great food, great thought and great company would be imbued in a celebration and promotion of culture, progressive ethos, and sensory stimulation. So how did partners propose to bring such a fantastical concept to realization? By opening up a restaurant, of course! But not just a restaurant where food was the only featured commodity. A restaurant that would serve as a meeting space for those thirsty for the amalgamated libation of cultural celebration, inspirational surroundings and a palpable synergy. It was envisioned that such a venture would serve to champion the one of most endearing yet common characteristics of the human experience. The brilliant contribution of the cultural artisan. Those creative expressions that are exceptionally unique, yet universal in attracting and inspiring us all. Representations, and stylistic renderings, reproduced and performed by talented sophisticates and grass roots country folk alike.
The founders of BBRS determined that the best way to introduce their concept, philosophy and passion, was to begin with presenting a culture that was of great familiarity with them, their own. A truly hybrid culture, representative of their Afro-Caribbean and American backgrounds. A culture forged out of their ancestral forefather’s odyssey which emanated from the African continent, to the shores of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, continuing through the slave routes entrenched within the colonial territories of the Spanish, Dutch and French and coming to rest in the cluster of entangled ethnic roots that stretched throughout the Americas. Where else than on the eastern seaboard region of North American, can our ancestral and multi-cultural lineage be more defined, and clearly observed? And where else can the resulting mixture of that multi-cultural be best experienced and enjoyed other than Harlem, NYC! It is within a great destiny that brought all peoples of the world to this great city, the bastion of culture and art and now proud hometown of the partner’s visionary public house, affectionately christened as the Big Belly Roti Shop.
The Big Belly Way Flows from The Caribe!
The Big Belly Roti Shop (BBRS) is a direct counter to the unimpressive and boring hordes of gimmicky, one dimensional cookie-cutter food franchises, that has currently germinated and multiplied in epidemic manner throughout the food service industry to become the horrific standard for modern food establishments. A culinary plague that even began to infect their beloved Gotham, the historic capital of diverse culture exhibition and experience. At BBRS, the intent is to create a “cultural cafeteria” positioned at the crossroads of artistic Afro-Caribbean folklore and cuisine.
Being descendants of the African diaspora, the creators of the Big Belly Roti Shop (BBRS) unapologetically celebrate pan-Africanism and its progeny, Afro-Caribbean culture. However, the shopkeepers are also enthusiastic humanists who value and hail the diverse societies and ethnic customs found around the globe. The BBRS philosophy embraces the notion that the historic presence of modern mankind can be viewed as a beautiful amalgamation of art and authentic traditions, independently developed and unique as the communities and societies they represent. Some, unfortunately, lost forever, some desperately preserved in the face of tragic human consequence, such as slavery and imperialism; and some thankfully and generationally handed down through legendary stories and creative arts. All contribute in amazing collection of human customs and rituals that continue to flourish over the course of time. The artistic hallmark of “the shop” is enthusiastically exhibited in the revelry of the music, culinary creations and festive celebrations of Afro-Caribbean societies, stretching from the Antilles to the Americas. The BBRS frame of mind champions the resolute existentialism steadfastly reflected amongst those who live, love and party the Caribbean way!