Nestled in Five Cays Settlement on the south shore of Providenciales, miles away from the tourist hub of Grace Bay, is a pastel pink-and-blue outdoor eatery known as Bugaloo’s.
Although the restaurant known for its fresh conch dishes and sublime location at the edge of the turquoise sea only opened in November 2012, the name behind the establishment has a long history in the Turks and Caicos.
So what is a Bugaloo, anyway?
Berlie “Bugaloo” Williams, 62, is recognized as the first man on Provo with a proper “conch shack.” Beginning in 1994, Bugaloo would wade into the water, take conch fresh from the sea and prepare it for patrons at a tiny shed of plywood in Blue Hills.
“I started out with an umbrella and a table,” Bugaloo says. “It was a Friday. I had 50 conchs, and 150 people came the first day it opened.”
Bugaloo’s shack inspired da Conch Shack in Blue Hills, and years later, the restaurant in Five Cays named for the man himself. Bugaloo nabbed the location off a dirt road in Five Cays facing out to sea and suggested to the restaurant’s owner Michael Stolow that he open up shop there.
When Bugaloo’s opened up for business, right away it was a hit. Bugaloo’s manager Omar Duncan credits the restaurant’s immediate success to its namesake.
“Right away it was busy because Bugaloo’s name goes pretty far back,” Omar says. “With Bugaloo’s name, any business will do well.”
But location, too, is paramount. And as far as restaurants go, the location doesn’t get much better than steps away from the ocean. Trees grow through the wooden tables on the deck, offering diners relief from the heat.
“At low tide, the kids can go out and play in the sand,” Omar says. “It’s all about location. It’s family friendly.”
Says one TripAdvisor reviewer from Michigan who posted in December 2013: “This was one of the best locations I have eaten at – the chairs are on the beach and hardly any people on the beach.”
The restaurant features local dishes using many of Bugaloo’s original recipes for conch, such as the conch salad and conch fritters. The coconut cracked conch, coconut shrimp and lobster salad also are popular dishes among patrons. (Bugaloo’s favorite is the conch sauté).
According to one TripAdvisor reviewer in January: “Restaurant was recommended by two different locals – it lived up to everything they said.
Bugaloo’s has its faithful local clientele, but the man himself is happiest when he sees island visitors step out of their comfort zone and make the trek to Five Cays to experience an authentic Turks and Caicos restaurant.
“This is the best place in the world to have a restaurant,” Bugaloo says.
FOR MORE INFO
Bugaloo’s is located in Five Cays Settlement. Visit tripadvisor.com to read more reviews about Bugaloo’s. To reach the restaurant directly, call 649-941-3863.