Sonny’s central to Fletcher’s Land
To appreciate how much cookshops contribute to a community and the values that the men or women behind the door pass on to its customers daily, take a trip to Sonny’s Cook Shop one morning.
Sonny is selling more than a cup of tea to the young man dressed in his khaki only to return to class in his home, said Kurt Riley as he takes a seat.
The disc jockey and producer recalls having discovered the cookshop 10 years ago and knows not to go into Fletcher’s Land where Sonny’s is located, any time after seven in the morning expecting that breakfast will still be available.
“After me nah guh down deh fi guh wash pot,” said Kurt, my designated driver and the one who decided we could grab breakfast before sunrise.
The wooden shop has a black chalkboard painted on its exterior that reads ‘For the best taste in fried chicken, stew chicken, veggie chunks and more’.
The bright-faced cook, whose given name is Alphanso Sonny Bryan, impressed that the salt fish and bean, callaloo, ackee and boiled ground provisions was a must if we wanted to not only feel full but have enough energy to take us through the day. Sonny also makes natural juices.
The street became busy in a short space of time, as residents toting their children off to school, taxis drove past, and labourers walked by, some of whom checked in to see if Sonny had started frying chicken at only a few minutes to 7 a.m. Before Sonny could package my order of salt fish and bean, Riley, who first had ackee and callaloo, was calling for seconds and a serving of what I was having.
“Don’t judge me. I’m a growing man,” he said jokingly, “but in all truth, I don’t play with food, and I find that the food, as well as the energy here, is good.”
In a parish that is known to have long lines at fast-food restaurants that offer a breakfast menu and cookshops with limited square footage, Sonny has an ideal space in the community for a quick drop in. He welcomes you to sit on the blue wooden bench – never mind the rugged appearance – just eat and digest your food and will probably join in a conversation if it is an opportunity to share some of his knowledge.
“DJ Kurt Riley has been a loyal customer for years. From the very first morning, him end up here after some morning boat ride with some other patrons, he has been returning. I open every day except on Sundays. Naturally, my hope is, anyone that comes here will return,” Sonny said.