Friday, January 29, 2010

Ma Ruby's Cheeseburger in Paradise


"Ask Jimmy what makes it so great. He sat right there at the bar and wrote the song," explains Ma Ruby, when asked about her world famous cheeseburger. Jimmy would be the "Gulf and Western" singer Jimmy Buffet  of Margaritaville and Parrot Head fame. "Cheeseburger in Paradise" is his much -quoted song about finding nirvana between two slices of bread with a sea breeze wafting in the background. A couple of  other island  restaurants claim that they originated the dish but according to the Parrot Head Handbook and Ma Ruby herself,  her little eatery in Tingam Village Hotel on Harbour Island is the place that stirred Jimmy's appreciation. The legendary burger is a huge slab of meatloaf-like beef between two thick slices of  toasted Bahamian bread and cheese. Since I don't eat burgers, I can't tell you about the greatness of her cheeseburger but I can tell you about the greatness of Ma Ruby.


Her restaurant is filled with signed hats, photos and souvenirs from the visitors that flock to her place. The eatery is also known for good Bahamian food but I suspect that it's Ma that draws the crowds. Warm, compact and authoritative, 77 years of raising eight children have bestowed her with the charm and grace that attracts people to her.

Evidence of this line the walls of her restaurant, awards and citations from local organizations, Madrid and her meeting with Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth showcase her star power.

You can't visit Harbour Island and not drop in to see Ma Ruby. That would be like going home and forgeting to visit your mother.  Forget the cheeseburger, grab a drink and listen to Ma Ruby's life story and you'll glimpse a little of what life in paradise really means.

13 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

That last sentence clinched it for me. Listening to the elderly generation is a personality trait in short supply nowadays. I loved the vibe running through your post (even if it made hungry, cheers a bunch for that, you can never, ever beat a cheeseburger).

Many thanks. Another brilliant recommendation.

Greetings from London.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

You recommend some super places.

Heather on her travels said...

Sounds like Ma Ruby's a big character worth going out of your way to meet

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, thanks for your kindness.

Jean-Luc, you should visit a few someday!

Heather, Ma Ruby is well worth a special visit.

Wendy said...

Sounds lovely. Would like to be there right now.

Fly Girl said...

Wenday, Ha! Wouldn't we all?

Ekua said...

Interesting post! My sister used to play Jimmy Buffet randomly so I became familiar with his music. It's cool to know it's origins!

Fly Girl said...

Ekua, your sister listened to Jimmy Buffet? that shows some eclectic tastes!

jessiev said...

WHAT fun. i want to meet her, too.

Fly Girl said...

Jessie, I was great fun!

Tiffany said...

I would like to meet her. I love listening to the older generations talk about their life.

Fly Girl said...

Tiffany, I've always liked listening to elders experiences.

barrenriver said...

sitting here now at Valentine's Marina, and making plans to head that way later today...When I was here on the island last year, I left her place full, not only from her burger, but listening to her heart warming stories