[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]
A downtown Jamaican restaurant is preparing for the grand opening of its rum bar.
The Breadfruit Jamaican Grill at 108 E. Pierce St. recently held a soft opening for Phoenix’s first-known rum bar.
The rum-bar extension of the intimate restaurant has a rustic Caribbean feel, featuring tables made from supply crates turned upside down, homemade bar stools and more than 60 rums. Co-owner Dwayne Allen says it reminds him of his home in Jamaica, where rum bars remain a community gathering place. Allen and co-owner Danielle Leoni still have about 40 rums on order but believe they’ll receive them by their 5 p.m. grand opening on Jan. 23.
Allen and Leoni opened the restaurant more than a year ago. It was an opportunity for Allen to introduce Phoenix diners to Caribbean dishes such as Jamaican grilled, jerk-style prawns, and curried chicken with dumplings, and desserts such as sweet-potato pudding and a parfait made with Madagascar vanilla ice cream.
Allen says most bars in his native Jamaica are known as rum bars because years ago, that was the only liquor available on the island. He says the rum bars tend to look rustic and weathered, which is why he and Leoni adopted a similar look for their bar. They transformed century-old barn doors salvaged from a Midwestern farm into shelves and created beer-bottle pendulum lights.
This drink is made from sugar-cane byproducts, such as the juice or molasses. Historians believe that the first rums were developed in India. The first Caribbean rums were made by slaves in the 17th century, and then British colonists began selling it. Allen says the flavors for each rum vary according to whether juice or molasses is used, and how it is processed.
This is the number of imported rums that Leoni and Allen have chosen to offer at their bar. They chose it because it is a multiple of three – symbolic of fundamental principles in Daoist philosophy. The couple have had to hunt for importers to bring the unique brands to Arizona. Their menu features rums primarily from Central and South America.