For 32 years the Verandah Restaurant has been serving its customers with the finest international cuisine infused with local and Caribbean flavours. Some famous dishes are beef-stuffed dumplings, shrimp skewer with pepper jelly glaze and the plantain and cheese stuffed chicken breast. So tasty was the food that Phyllis Vieira's diners returned as often as three times a week to experience the varied weekly menus. Customers often described the cooking as "clean" in taste, never too much of anything and just the right amount of everything.
Tea and desert lovers also enjoyed an array of English-styled teas and exotic desserts, particularly its signature cheesecakes, which satisfied every palette.
Now the family-owned little cosy restaurant at 10 Rust Street, St Clair, is closing its doors but definitely not its service. Co-owner and Vieira's daughter-in-law, Lisa Vieira, said it was merely moving from one venture to the next.
"We are expanding on our catering service which has grown so much since we began catering in 2012.
We have a huge clientele in the corporate sector. We do a number of seminars and training sessions, weddings etc. So this is not a goodbye rather just the introduction of another layer of the Verandah brand."
She says the catering service will also now offer ready-to-eat frozen foods.
"This is something we are definitely embarking on. We are trying a different approach and this is really for families. We know how hectic things can get between juggling work, kids and still trying to maintain your family life. That's why something like a frozen casserole, will get you an easy, quick and tasty dinner."
Vieira also noted that tea would be catered to private functions.
They also plan on keeping up with the delivery service with a weekly menu which will be e-mailed to all their customers. "Whatever they want will be delivered to them," says Vieira.
Verandah started out at the corner of Marli and Woodford Streets, Port-of-Spain, actually on the verandah of a house, hence its name. At the time, the older Vieira was sharing the building with her sister, fashion designer, Meiling.
Vieira recalls how her mother-in-law had only five to six seats available for diners. Today there seating accommodation counted 45.
When she opened up shop, mommy Vieira was also the solo chef until she hired Leslie-Ann Blackman, a graduate straight out of Servol. Blackman has remained with the restaurant to this date and is now the head chef.
"We are so sad to give up the location because it has so many memories there. But I am certain new and great memories will also be formed from this new venture," said Vieira.
Customers can now visit Verandah's Catering Service at 25 Brunton Road, St James.