25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
The following are definitely late comers to San Pedro. And I am not talking about people who came late to San Pedro, but about things. People cannot come late to San Pedro. Some people just came earlier but nobody is late.
However there are things that came late when compared to the rest of the world and Belize. When the rest of Belize and the world were enjoying them, we were not. And it is not because we were a third world country because Belize City was enjoying them and we were not. So the big question is “What or which are the things that came late to San Pedro?”
N0. 1 PIZZAS: Indeed pizzas have been all over the world for a long time but for some reason they did not come here early. They were certainly not here during the 50’s, nor the 60’s and 70’s. It was well into the late 1980’s that pizzas came to san Pedro. Barrier Reef Hotel also had a restaurant owned and operated by Jeannie Bremekamp, who first placed pizzas into her menu. Genarito Nuñez, just out of high school, made the best and only island pizzas, I suppose taught to him by Jeannie. It was like a “Jeannie” out of a miracle bottle because Sanpedranos became fascinated by pizzas. The three brothers, Genzo, Smiley, and Jason were the pizzas kings of San Pedro. Today, thanks to them all we enjoy delicious pizzas from Pepperoni’s and Pauly’s and Ambergris Delight among others.
No. 2 HOTDOGS: Hotdogs are a fast food delicacy. You do not order them in restaurants and though restaurants have been on the island since the 1960’s, hotdogs have not been here so long. Mr. Enrique Staine’s (deceased) first fast food place known as Elvi’s Burger perhaps offered the first hotdogs. Then they became famous with the vendors around central park. Now they are scattered all over the island, but certainly a late amenity for San Pedro.
No. 3 FRIED CHICKEN: You have to remember that chicken did not come to San Pedro in big quantities until the arrival of refrigeration. You have to consider also that when people killed their chickens that were raised in the backyard, it was to cook a special dish like chirmole, relleno or escabeche. You also have to remember that San Pedro grew up like a Mestizo community for the most part until the 1980’s and fried chicken is not a Mestizo dish. Relleno and Escabeche and corn tortillas are. So it was until 1970 when a guy named “Tincho” used to run a small restaurant at Daddy’s Club. Tincho made tacos and panuchos as his main dishes but then found out that Sanpedranos used to love his French fries and fried chicken. He even used to get up in the middle of the night to fry chickens for his friends and best clients. After that Kentucky fried found its way into many restaurants at a moderate pace. It was not the number one dish on the menu. However, today only the Chinese have 14 fast food places on the island, and they all sell like crazy.
Today children and teenagers take pizzas, hotdogs and fried chicken for granted. But some older folks did not taste these delicacies until they were forty or fifty years old. Certainly they found themselves in our lives about 25 years ago.