Cuz's Fish Snackette

Food & Drink

Pepsi and Coke wanted to paint it, but this place isn’t about them, it’s about Cuz

Just off Bay Street, in a car park by Pebbles Beach in Aquatic Gap on the South Coast, there’s a neighbourhood institution. Less than 50 square metres in size, it has a reach that extends overseas.

There, the food is fresh and delicious, and the fish cutters are renowned. The owner is your instant cousin, ‘cause it’s Cuz’s snackette.

His atmosphere is unpretentious and welcoming – a tiny, blue & yellow structure. Before it was repainted, the stand was decorated with folksy paintings by Izebo that depict Cuz and his father, beach scenes, drink bottles and food. Cuz will tell you, “Pepsi and Coke wanted to paint it, but this place isn’t about them, it’s about Cuz.”

It’s hard to say which Cuz he means. His late father, who started the place 60 years ago, was also known by this nickname, which he got by calling everybody else Cuz.  “He was a nice guy, a very pleasant, respectable, friendly man,” says an older patron. “He’s my hero,” says his son. It shows.

The place and the person have long been a favourite of airline crews staying at hotels in the gap.  Cuz enjoys doing beach barbecues for them. “If they don’t fly in the morning, we’re out there til one or two in the morning,” he said.

Perhaps that’s why his snackette was listed in Newsweek magazine as one of the "101 'best places' in which to eat around the world", was featured on Sky Travel, showing on TV in England, and why Cuz sometimes goes to visit his customers there. But Cuz’s ambitions remain modest. “I could do more, but I don’t want stress.”

He rises early, serves breakfast, stays until late afternoon, then buys and portions fish (usually marlin) for the next day. His secret? “Marinate it in lime and salt, put on a little Bajan seasoning, and fry just a minute on each side. If you cook it more, it gets rubbery.”

One of ten children, Cuz grew up in Bayland, in a stable family that always ate dinner together. He attended the Garrison Secondary School, and later got a job cooking on a cruise ship. Absence cost him his girlfriend. Parted only by their deaths in recent years, his parents were married for 47 years, something Cuz himself would like to emulate. His only son died of a sudden illness a few years ago. He still grieves for all of them.

Yet he’s cheerful, and hardly a quarter hour goes by without a loud shout to or from a friend going down the road.

His philosophy? “I’m not a scholar, but I can read and write and I know right from wrong. I live a good life and I’m happy.” Amen, Cuz.