A new sports bar in French Harbour is accomplishing what few thought Roatan was capable of providing: good food, fast service and great entertainment at a reasonable price. On April 1 opened Herby’s Sports Bar and Grill with its main space being a round, 10 meter high rotunda filled with sports jerseys of famous basketball, baseball and football players. Most of the customers are locals, some coming from as far as Oak Ridge and West End to Pineapple Villas where the sports bar is located.
The bar space is kept at a cool 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit. The electric bill is no laughing matter, but the cost is kept in check by the use of double pan windows, 6″ concrete block walls, LED lights, low-energy-using LCD and LED TVs, insulated air-conditioning ductwork.
Herb Morici, owner of the sports bar, says that the space displays 30 years of collecting sports memorabilia when he was a telemarketing entrepreneur based in Dallas Texas. One of the most valuable memorabilia at the bar is Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan’s 300’s win line card. Framed photographs, jerseys and tickets from all kind of sports venues can be seen on the walls, table tops, or hanging from the ceiling rafters – all designed by a La Ceiba architect Edgar Goodman. “That Nolan Ryan signed game jersey was valued at $20,000,” points to the ceiling Morici.
What grabs just as much attention as sports memorabilia are the staff in their black and white striped referee jerseys buzzing between the tables, and punching in kitchen orders via wireless network that are instantly printed out at the bar and kitchen. They don’t need to leave the sales area increasing efficiency of the operation and focusing their attention on customers. The wait staff is using a point of sale software running on tablet Windows 7 touchpads.
Five runners that work on a shift bring out the drinks and food to the customers whose table and seat is associated with every order. “We bring out maximum efficiency,” says Elias Scott, manager at Pineapple Villas.
The key to keeping the staff happy and motivated is how the tips from customers are distributed. The restaurant ads on a 10% service fee that is divided equally amongst the floor and kitchen staff at the end of the day. Any additional tips can be kept by the waiter.
“We can get just about any game in the world and put it in high definition on any of our screens,” says Scott. With 1,300 channels of programming to choose from, so far the sports bar’s biggest night came during the Holy Week’s soccer game of Copa del Rey of FC Barcelona versus Real Madrid. “We had 200 people here and had to turn some away,” says Scott. All the orders were handled by six waiters and five runners.
Herby’s menu is a composite of contribution of people involved in Pineapple Villas. “We make most things from scratch: dressings, sauces. Everything that could be home made is home made,” says Morici. In the main kitchen, below the sports bar and in the stake house has a bread baking oven and aging room for black-angus beef.
There is draft beer, the only draft beer from Roatan to Tegucigalpa, after the Bay Islands Pilsner called it quits on the island. Guinness, Sam Adams and Budweiser are shipped from the US and offered on tap.
“It’s a good product at a reasonable price,” said Myrt Tugwell, a patron at the restaurant. “Herby’s being on the island is good for the island. People will try to emulate what he [Morici] is doing.”
Another perk in the bar’s experience is the Buzz-time interactive trivia game system offered to the Bar’s restaurant free of charge. “The customers stay happy and spend more money,” explains Scott. “Roatan is one of only four locations outside of North America that is offering this.” [/private]