BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
There’s nothing like some good Guyanese style Chinese food to satisfy your cravings, especially when you can enjoy it in the relaxing in the tranquil vibes of the Caribbean Oasis!
Kamela and her husband Mohan, owners of Caribbean Oasis opened up their restaurant in 2008 alongside her sister Monica and her husband. Both sisters were tired of working for other employers and so it was a family business designed to launch them into the world of self-employment and small business where they could make their own schedules, thrive on their own creativity and make their own decisions at the end of the day.
Hailing from Guyana, they immigrated to Canada in the 70’s. In coming to start a life here in Toronto, there was no real direction they were headed. They took a ‘let the chips fall where they may’ approach working odd jobs looking to discover their true passions.
Kamela found herself working in the auto industry for a vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing company as a lead hand for quality control. She knew it wasn’t something that she would be happy doing for the rest of her life and so one day they sat down together to come up with a new game plan. They brainstormed, bouncing ideas off of one another as to what type of establishment they would open. They considered all of their options, thinking about opening a doughnut shop, or even a dollar store, looking at all of their choices before coming to settle on opening up their own restaurant.
Prior to opening up the restaurant, Kamela had little to no experience in the kitchen. It wasn’t until going through the process of hiring chefs and wait staff did they venture to the back to see how things were being done. Since opening the restaurant they have come a long way, learning how to cook and specializing in Guyanese Chinese food. They have discovered all of the hard work it takes to successfully run a restaurant, and how it can become a 24/7 operation.
Located at Derry Road and Goreway Drive in Mississauga, Caribbean Oasis is a moderately priced trendy bar where people go to escape after a long hard day at work. Their specialty is Hakka-style Guyanese Chinese cuisine. They invite you to come hungry and leave satisfied, as their generous portions are one of the best values in Malton! With decently priced specials, Caribbean Oasis serves specialty items like jerk pork, barbecue duck, black pepper beef, pepper shrimp, banagamary fish and more! They have an assortment of exciting flavors to sample with special shrimp, chicken, beef, pork or vegetable chow mein, alongside a collection of seafood and soups to satisfy your cravings.
Make your next get together one to remember by catering your food from Caribbean Oasis! They offer catering in large quantities for weddings, parties or office events and much more, with a selection of reasonably priced trays and delicious items to please your guests.
“The restaurant business is one of the hardest businesses you can get into,” says Kamela. After eight years in the business they have learned that there is a lot of time and energy put forth into running your own restaurant. “Having a small business between my husband and I is something that is manageable,” she explains. “Running your own small business there’s a little bit of challenge in everything you do, you are constantly on the go, you spend most hours here at the restaurant and there is always something that needs attending too.”
Kamela explains the difficulties in running a small business comes with not having enough hands. She always has to be at the restaurant, waiting tables, attending to customers and managing the storefront, which leaves little time for anything else.
There are also a lot of regulations when it comes to serving liquor at your establishment. It requires documentation that has to go through so many channels and also getting approval from the police. So it takes many variables to be able to run your establishment and have it be a successful and thriving business.
They have considered franchising out their restaurant, but have decided to hold off on it for a little while yet, knowing it isn’t the time and there is still a lot of building to be done. Looking toward the future, they know that it is filled with endless possibilities. With every passing day there are trials and tribulations that push them to do better and they continue working on the business plan that they have. Their main goal is to provide their customers with a welcoming and inviting atmosphere offering great customer service and quality flavor in every meal they serve.
Their customers enjoy the friendly atmosphere, coming to the restaurant mainly on the weekends to throw back a drink with some friends. They have a live DJ on the weekend and are open late for those people looking to catch the last call before the morning comes. What are you waiting for? Head on down to Caribbean Oasis bring the boys and let the party start!