A Caribbean Restaurant Stays in the Family After a Chance Meeting

Mother and son co-owners of Suzy’s Roti Parlour, Narvin and Suzy Seemungal (Photo by Ditmas Park Corner)

The mother and son co-owners of Suzy’s Roti Parlour, Narvin and Suzy Seemungal (Photo by Ditmas Park Corner)

Sunset Park residents Narvin Seemungal and his mom Suzy had plans to open a roti shop in Flatbush. That is, until they ran into a long-lost cousin of Suzy’s.

In April, the two had gone into Shayna’s, a restaurant in Kensington that had just been put up for sale and then, they tell Ditmas Park Corner‘s Carly Miller, “serendipity intervened.”

“When we walked in to meet Miss Joyce at her restaurant [Shayna’s], she and my mom got to talking about Trinidad. Miss Joyce said to my mom “you look familiar,” then they realized they were from the same village, St. Mary’s, and then, that they were cousins,” said Narvin.

When Narvin first mentioned the business idea, Suzy was hesitant about being on her feet all day, but serendipity intervened. “Let’s start looking for a place, and if we see it, I’ll know that it’s right,” Suzy said. “Then when we came here and met my cousin. I got the feeling and said, okay let’s go for it.”

…“We just happened upon this place the week Shayna’s went up for sale. It was serendipity for it to happen like that, and Miss Joyce did a handshake deal on the spot.”

Narvin and Suzy worked as apprentices for three months at Shayna’s before taking it over under the name “Suzy’s.” They got to know the customer base Joyce and her husband had built up. The mother and son wanted to go with the established menu but with some new offerings – like expanded vegetarian options: “Roti with spinach, broccoli, potatoes and eggplant, along with more Caribbean staples like fried okra, pumpkin, and curried mushroom.”

The owners of the recently reopened restaurant added another feature that would prevent what Narvin perceived as a downfall in other roti shops. Find out what that is, more on the transition from Shayna’s to Suzy’s and what dish customers are saying is the “best they’ve ever had,” at Ditmas Park Corner.

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