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Damianos Sothebys Rainbow Inn Sale Signals Start of Resurgence of Eleuthera Economy
The Bahamian island the New York Times once called “a blank canvas waiting to be painted” got a fresh coat of hope recently when the tiny Rainbow Inn was sold with new owners already at work creating a steakhouse and gourmet restaurant.
For Eleuthera, the sale of the quaint 7-room Rainbow Inn signals a promising boost in business, according to Jonathan Morris of Damianos Sotheby’s Realty, who handled the transaction.
“People who are familiar with central Eleuthera know the incredible potential this area offers,” said Morris, a estate agent who has been specialising in Eleuthera properties for more than a decade. “But potential and reality are two very different creatures so we are pleased that these enthusiastic new owners saw the potential in Eleuthera and are making it a reality.”
The island style structure with hand-hewn stone walls and a popular lounge was purchased by Rhonda and Richard Waserman of Ottawa. Managing the property and developing the steakhouse and sushi restaurant is a family venture that includes grown son, Zev, his Australian fiancée, Mish and daughter, Eve, on sabbatical from an airline and armed with restaurant experience.
(Photo of Rainbow Inn Bar)
“We have travelled everywhere and always done everything as a family, so we feel like this is just a natural extension of everything we have been working toward all our lives,” said Mrs. Waserman, on a rare day when her hands were not coated with paint or fingernails showing the evidence of gardening. “We sold everything, packed up and moved here lock, stock and barrel of dreams.”
Mr. Waserman, a former real estate broker and fourth generation entrepreneur, and Mrs. Waserman, who sold her travel agency after 9/11 changed the travel environment, said while they believe they subconsciously prepared for this Eleuthera venture for years, working daily on the dining experience that will attract locals and visitors, becoming a venue for weddings, reunions and special events, is what allows them to be most creative as a family.
“Our son Zev is a divemaster, rock climber and budding ecologist who can lead tours and adventures, but my husband is the steak master,” said Mrs. Waserman, a bundle of energy who transforms sitting still into a challenge. “We have planted our own herbs and have already started growing vegetables in our own organic garden. We’re doing wraps and sushi for lunch, and steaks and rack of lamb and other entrees for dinner and we have whatever fish the fishermen catch that day and bring to us. The Rainbow Inn has always been such an important part of the scene in central Eleuthera. Now we want to make it even better.” All existing staff members have been retained and there is live music twice a week.
“We’ve never worked harder and we love it,” said Waserman. “Even our 10-year-old English golden retriever is impressed.” The Wasermans were also impressed with the treatment they got from former long-time owner Ken Keene, who stayed and helped them for several months until the financial closing was completed December 20. Keene has since moved to Thailand to retire and begin a new life.
For real estate agent Jonathan Morris, the sale had a touch of irony.
“It was the opposite of the tales you usually hear where someone goes into a place, orders a drink, falls in love with it and buys it,” he said. “I used to serve drinks here as a bartender, now I have sold the Rainbow Inn and I am just another satisfied customer.”