A Queens restaurant is shining a light on Guyanese cooking in the neighborhood.
Tropical Isle Roti Shop first opened its doors three years ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Owned and operated by Danny Persaud, the opening of the restaurant was inspired by his father.
“My dad is well-known in our community for his cooking skills. When someone has a wedding, a religious function, or a party, my dad would be the one they would call to cook for them,” said Persaud. “He cooks with so much passion and heart that he inspired me to bring his type of back-home, Guyanese-style cooking to the heart of Little Guyana.”
Located in at the corner of Little Guyana in Queens, Tropical Isle Roti Shop takes Guyana’s vibrant history, which has influences from India, Africa, China, Portugal, and Native Guyanese. The menu features a huge lineup of dishes, including curries (Persaud’s personal favorite is the duck curry with Dhall Puri), pepper pots, stews and more, plus a variety of pastries and desserts to choose from.
Persaud says that the food scene is so good in Little Guyana, it can be tough to get customers in the door sometimes because there are so many places to choose from. But Persaud is thrilled to be a part of the city’s diverse food scene.
“We’re proud to say that our community is filled with exceptional restaurants. It can be tough for people to try us out with so many options around, but once they do, we’re confident they’ll become lifelong customers,” said Persaud. “One of the most exciting things about living in the New York area is the abundance of diverse cuisine. Despite being a relatively small area, it is possible to experience food from dozens of countries, spanning multiple continents and representing every different ethnic group. The best part is that each of these cuisines can be equally spectacular.”
The shop has become pretty well known, with Persaud saying that the shop has hosted pop-ups recently featuring Guyanese celebrities, chefs, and food social media influencers. Persaud says that the pop-ups have been very successful in connecting the local community with those they see on TV or on social media celebrating our Guyanese food. The last one of the year for 2023 was with Salmah Hack, a finalist on the PBS cooking show “The Great American Recipe.”
Local celebrities and influencers pop in all the time to say hello. So far, Tropical Isle Roti Shop has had visits from Chef Dev, Melissa Noel from Essence magazine, Sandy King, Althea Brown from Metemgee, Salmah Hack from PBS, and Alejandra Ramos from “The Today Show.”
However, Persaud will always be the most proud to serve the local community.
“Many successful Guyanese people have started their American Dream in Little Guyana. Their stories, along with mine, began in this vibrant community,” said Persaud. “This neighborhood has played a significant role in shaping me and it will always be my home. The hard work and dedication of my parents and other immigrants in the area have inspired me to daily.”
Tropical Isle Roti Shop is located at 118-19 Liberty Ave. in Richmond Hill. You can follow the shop on Instagram @tropicalislerotishop.
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