Owner of B.A.R. Cutters, Jamal Hall. (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)
B.A.R. Cutters has gone from a rum shop in Dunlow Lane, to a household name.
And if you haven’t had a cutter of any kind from it, you definitely are missing out.
The now very popular B.A.R. Cutters came from humble beginnings in a small community just outside the city, to being a much talked about local shop with cutters and other dishes that are to die for.
It even recently received an award from the Nation Publishing Company Ltd for having the best cutters in the island, during the Newspaper’s Bim’s Best competition.
Jamal Hall said he was truly humbled to have received such an award.
“I feel really good about the award. It’s a lot of hard work that we put into creating B.A.R. Cutters. The team worked really hard coming up with all the menu items. At the end of the day it comes down to good customer service. How you interact with everyone; and I think that we still have a long way to go, but I really appreciate the award, and coming from Dunlow Lane, a small gap that not many people knew about, to a food trailer and awards,” Hall said.
In a relaxing interview at the food truck’s location in Hastings, Christ Church, owner Jamal Hall reflected on how he and his business partner Keisha Turney got their business started, and marvelled at how far they had come, especially since they started out “in a little rum shop”.
“We started out as a rum shop. It was conceptualised through us just wanting to try some stuff with food. We decided to start out a business doing ham cutters. We didn’t have a name or anything like that. We sold the ham cutters out of her Dad’s rum shop,” he explained.
After that, they started to get some traction and decided to officially name the business and pursue it seriously. The rest, as they say, is history.
Hall said while they didn’t quite have a rum shop anymore, they still tried to maintain the concept of a rum shop and to keep things as local as possible, and so far, everyone loved it.
“We stumbled into doing a menu with a difference to give Bajans a different look, and all that came from ham just being not we thought it would have been. The best seller on the menu is our pizza fries. It’s something that comes and goes. We just had it for the week of Independence and we are going to bring it back next year sometime. It usually happens like three times a year. When it comes to something that is consistently on the menu, the pull pork fries are popular. People still love the ham cutters though,” Hall said.
He added; “Our fish cutters are getting a lot of pull as well. The deluxe ham cutter comes in a cinnamon salt bread, ‘nuff ham’ and our signature rum sauce. We change our menu every now and again. We change it about every three, four months.”
Pausing to reflect on some of the memories, Hall told Easy he was truly humbled to see where the business had grown in such a short space of time.
“It’s really humbling to see the business growing the way it has in the three and a half years we have been in existence. At first, it wasn’t all of this. You would sell one ham cutter, go watch a movie, and then you would hear someone else wants one.
“We just did the Food And Rum Festival. We had our lamb burgers, ham and fish cutters there, and people really loved it. Business has definitely been growing. People actually think the business is a lot bigger than it actually is. But we are just doing our thing and looking to grow and grow responsibly,” he said with a chuckle.
As for the meaning of the acronym B.A.R., Hall said he would leave it up to the imagination of the reader, but stressed he and his partner prided themselves in being authentically Bajan, pointing out that the name reflected that.
“At B.A.R. Cutters we try to be as Bajan as possible. Many things on our menu can be tied back to Barbados. We try to come up with new concepts all the time, like we have our Coconut Eclipse chicken as well,” he said.
Hall, a former media worker, said one thing they prided themselves in was good customer service and being authentically Bajan. This, he said, was what also set them apart from everyone else.
“You have to give people a reason to leave home, a reason to want to come to B.A.R. Cutters for more than just good food. You come to Bar Cutters because you want to come to Bar Cutters,” he said.
Hall told Easy he was looking forward to the business growing over the next few years.
“For me, the side hustle became the main job, and I am loving it. When you’re your own boss sometimes it hard. When I first left my job and became an entrepreneur, I started to experience all kinds of anxiety because I was never out of cash because I always had a job. Things just fall into place. I’m learning on the job. Have to have the confidence to go forward with it. We are still a small business, but we are just pushing and trying to do what we have to do.” (DB)