New: Asian Bistro

Asian Bistro
New Asian bistro opening soon

South Beach Centre at Palm Beach has another client: J. H. Yee’s Asian Bistro. After losing a Jamaican themed restaurant now they can welcome an Asian themed restaurant.

A new rival in the – for some – overcrowded landscape of restaurants is opening in the middle of the restaurant hot-spot of Aruba: Palm Beach.

It certainly is interesting to see who is going to survive the killer competition between the restaurants. Recently I’ve written a piece about the restaurant business and the competition: State of Aruba.

Update: Starbucks Aruba Soon

Starbucks coming soon
Starbucks Aruba coming soon at Renaissance Marketplace

As confusing as the banners may be – the banner on the left (below picture) says “Coming soon… Operated by Taste of Belgium” and the banner on the right (above picture) says “Coming soon… Starbucks Coffee (logo)”, plus they even have the same font type – Taste of Belgium isn’t the operator of Starbucks Coffee Shop in Aruba. Most probably the mall itself printed the banners, therefore causing a lot of confusion.

Nevertheless Taste of Belgium is awesome and I still would highly recommend it.

My report about Starbucks coming to Aruba is confirmed. In a big way I might add. In fact, the franchise holder, “Taste of Belgium” screams it out loud. They seem very proud. View below pictures.

To my understanding being able to get the franchise of Starbucks isn’t easy. A lot of requirements has to be met in order for a local company to land the Starbucks franchise. Franchise holder is local Taste of Belgium company, which is a catering/restaurant/chocolate company. Their restaurant, or bistro, at Paseo Herencia is awesome. I would highly recommend that place.

Starbucks’ business has been hit by the economy last year and the company had to take measures in closing several locations. It also received bad – opportunistic – mainstream press for being over-priced among others. Recently I spoke with a Seattle-based Starbucks executive here in Aruba on vacation about the whole situation. He had lots of interesting things to say, with the most important message to me that Starbucks’ coffee is awesome and the company is recovering. Oh, he added that they do sell simple, inexpensive coffees as well.

Starbucks coming soon
Taste of Belgium is franchise holder of Starbucks in Aruba

New in Palm Beach: Burger King

I write mostly about what’s happening in broad area of Palm Beach, specifically about the beach and real estate. The latest news in Palm Beach has a little bit to do with real estate. And restaurants. There is a new gastronomy member in Palm Beach: Burger King.

I’m sure this news makes some people – the purists mostly – shiver. Not necessarily because of the food – admit it, who amongst us hasn’t eaten a whopper in their lives – but mostly because of the perception by some that another piece of Aruba has lost its authenticity. Another American brand, as they say. I think most of Palm Beach has lost its authenticity anyway. And not now, since 1959. It was then, when the first high rise – Aruba Caribbean Hotel – opened its doors.

New Burger King Palm Beach
Burger King Palm Beach, across from Occidental Resort

This particular branch of Burger King is not new. It relocated from Oroubo Plaza (shopping and restaurant area at the main bus station in town) to Palm Beach. Apparently the rent at Oroubo Plaza was steep and the foot traffic poor. Competing rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s are a big block or two away, meaning now that Burger King has taken a huge advantage over the two, therefore will take tourist market-share from it rivals. Local customers will remain steady at McDonald’s and Wendy’s due to the drive thru window, which Burger King lacks.

New Burger King Palm Beach
New: Burger King Palm Beach

Starbucks Aruba

Starbucks coming soon to Aruba [Starbucks NY, image by]

I’ve read unconfirmed reports that Starbucks Coffee Company is opening a coffee shop in Aruba. The proposed location is Renaissance Marketplace – former Seaport Marketplace – in downtown Oranjestad.

Aruba is filled with international – mostly American – brand establishments in the food & beverage industry. The breakfast/coffee sector, however, is still poor in my opinion. Especially on holidays it’s very hard for tourist to get a decent coffee and breakfast.

Starbucks might improve that. Having said that, I must admit in all fairness, that there are a couple of good vendors of coffee – such as Segafredo and Salt & Pepper – in Aruba that are focused to the tourist sector, but there’s always room for improvement. Starbucks’ proposed location seems to focus on the local market. There isn’t any word about when it will open. Again, the news is still premature. To be continued.

Official: Hard Rock Cafe Aruba Grand Opening

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Last construction phase finished

Just over a month after the inauguration, yesterday it became official: Hard Rock Cafe Aruba opens officially to the public. The construction of the retail section and the eating area has finalized. Hard Rock Aruba organized a major opening with many local VIPs attending. Some members of the Seminole tribe that owns the Hard Rock brand were also in Aruba. They were escorted by the local Harley Davidson club on the way for the inauguration. The Wailers – Bob Marley’s band – performed as well.

“Love All, Serve All” is the famous creed used at Hard Rock Cafes around the world, and now also here in Aruba. Soon after it opened I visited the establishment and I had a positive experience there. The menu is very large, thus choices in abundance for food and beverages. Though, it is tad pricey.

Despite the fact that for years there were Hard Rock Cafe Aruba t-shirts in circulation – obviously fake – there wasn’t one on the island. Now there is a store with genuine merchandise. Hard Rock Cafe Aruba is located in the heart of Palm Beach, in front of Radisson Resort and opening hours are daily from 11 am until 1 am. On Friday’s and Saturday’s closing time is 3 am.

Tradition Hard Rock-inaugurations: smashing of guitars. Middle (wearing leather jacket) Aruba’s Prime Minister accompanied by company officials smashing guitars [image by Awe Mainta].

Pictures: Hard Rock Cafe Month Old

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Aruba has the world famous Hard Rock Cafe Guitar

Earlier this month Hard Rock Cafe Aruba celebrated its first month of existence. When it opened parts of the construction was still ongoing, however now completely finished.

Comments I received from people who visited is predominantly positive. I personally enjoyed the experience as the menu is very extensive, but at the same time pricey.  More picture after the jump.

Hard Rock Cafe is brand that has been widely expected to open in Aruba. Thanks to some Venezuelan entrepreneurs the franchise opened at South Beach Centre at Palm Beach.

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Hard Rock Cafe at South Beach Centre

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Freshly planted landscaping

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Iconic Hard Rock Cafe Guitar

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Menu displayed

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba Opens

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Final hand on inaugural day at Hard Rock Aruba

Tonight Hard Rock Cafe Aruba opens to the general public. It looks pretty cool. Yesterday there was an invite-only opening – which was jammed packed – while today it opens to the general public and is expected to be equally jammed packed.

After a few months of setup and training Hard Rock Cafe Aruba is open for business. The setup and details went on all the way to the end. It’s amazing to see how close they cut these things with the inauguration. Earlier today they were still painting and landscaping. More preparation pictures after the jump.

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba is located at South Beach Centre in the heart of Palm Beach. It’s located near resorts Radisson and Occidental Grand, also near Daniel’s Steak & Chop and Sopranos. Hard Rock Cafe is on the most anticipated arrivals to Aruba in a long time. Visit the Hard Rock Cafe Aruba page for more information.

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Principal bar at Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
Principal bar with view of the terras seating

Hard Rock Cafe Aruba
The vintage Hard Rock logo store