Restaurateurs pick up the pieces after fire!

Jaques Waterfront Dining was completely gutted by fire on Wednesday August 3.

“We got directions to this well recommended restaurant from our resort. It was a dark and rainy night when we ventured to Jacques. A small abandoned road close to the Castries airstrip was located after two careful passes. We traveled down the rough road as we were told about 100 yards and noticed a light in a small entrance way on an obscure building. The sign read open. My son and I were dressed with long pants and my wife wore a causal evening dress with flats, not knowing what to expect except great food from all the reviews.
“We passed through the entry way and came into the bar area. At once I knew we were in for something special. The small bar area had a couple of tables for guests to share drinks and overlooked a small creek that opened up on Castries main harbor. The lights from the town twinkled on the water as a gentle breeze cooled the air from the passing late evening shower.
“We were seated promptly to our reserved table located center on the raised dining area overlooking the water. The table was set tidy with all the proper linens and utensils that one would expect using in a fine New York City restaurant.
“My wife and son ordered non-alcoholic fruit drinks from a special menu and I enjoyed a glass of white wine while we selected our appetizers and courses. The St Lucian crab cake was wonderful. As were the fresh island salads. I enjoyed a garlic butter mahi mahi with a wonderful side boat of fresh veggies. The fish was melt in your mouth amazing. My son enjoyed prawns and filet that were very good as well. The vegetable ensemble dish that my wife ordered was her favorite meal on our trip. And the presentation would impress even the queen.
“For desert I ordered the locally prepared lime pie that was topped with heaps of freshly baked egg white topping. The tartness of the limes with the sweetness from the topping was enjoyed with a cup of Italian coffee. My son and wife raved about their choices of desert, but I cannot remember what they ordered due to mine being so satisfying.”

This review from Trip Advisor was written just last month. Overall, Jacques Waterfront Dining gets an 88 percent thumbs up from tourists on this popular travel website. Since opening its doors in 1997 managed by Cathy and Jacques Rioux, the formerly known Froggie Jacques Restaurant has had a cadre of loyal followers from around the globe.
Tragedy struck the establishment on Wednesday August 3. Cathy related the harrowing details to the STAR.
“I received a phone call from a friend who lives in Vigie. It was about 12:45 on Wednesday morning and she called me and told me there was an enormous fire in Ganters Bay, the Vigie Cove and she had a feeling it was close to the restaurant. She advised me to go down there. I rushed down and I met two fire engines there and an enormous blaze,” she said.
The immediate concern for those present was the fuel depot for the boats in front of the restaurant and the 500 pound LPG cylinder to the back. Cathy Rioux said, “It was quite frightening because the back of the restaurant was starting to be engulfed by flames.”
Fortunately, the fire service managed to extinguish the fire before any of the fuel was affected. However, there has been no indication as to the cause of the fire as yet. Investigators were on the scene the following day, Thursday August 4 and the Rioux’s are awaiting their findings.
“The restaurant is completely gutted. There’s nothing left,” she breathed. Looking to the future, Cathy Rioux revealed the restaurant was supposed to be closed in September for its annual vacation. In light of the devastating fire, the managers are going to bring forward the vacation. Jacques Waterfront Dining will be officially closed for one month.
She said, “By the end of that month we will be able to let the staff know how we will be moving forward.”
Though the physical structure is no more, Cathy and Jacques are determined to keep the restaurant afloat. Two hotels have generously agreed to allow the couple to use their kitchens to cater private functions.

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