The late Rohan Pyne inspired MommAmina’s Caribbean food and coffee in Cobourg
A conversation last year with the late Rohan Pyne resulted in the concept of a new restaurant that recently opened in downtown Cobourg.
MommAmina’s Caribbean Cuisine and Cafe, located at 18 King St. E., celebrated its grand opening on July 12. It was one of five businesses that opened in the city center that day.
The Caribbean restaurant has been open for three weeks and offers mostly Trinidadian food, including chicken curry, goat, as well as doubles, a sandwich made with pita bread and chickpea curry. There are also Caribbean specialties, said owner Angelique Bellisario.
The reaction so far? Incredible, says Bellisario.
“They love it. I didn’t expect it, but the welcome has been so warm and welcoming and it’s been a great, great experience so far,” she said.
Ballisario said she discussed with Pyne the idea of opening a cafe in the neighborhood while she was at the Jamaican Patty House to buy some patties one day last year. Pyne, however, encouraged her to go in a different direction.
“I came to visit the pie to buy food. And he and I started talking and I mentioned that I wanted to make coffee and Rohan was like “don’t make coffee”. Sell your food, sell roti, sell doubles. It’ll do’ and that’s how I changed the concept of what I was going to do,” she recalled.
Two or three days after the opening of MommAmina’s – which is located three doors down from the Jamaican Patty House – she heard the news of the incident of the shooting in broad daylight at the Pyne restaurant which claimed her life.
“It was devastating to hear what happened because he was the inspiration behind it all,” Ballisario said.
Ballisario said the restaurant is named after her mother, whose grandchildren called her Momma Amina, hence the inspiration for the restaurant’s name.
“She’s the inspiration behind it all. She’s the cook, she’s the one who holds it all together,” Ballisario said.
MommAmina’s is open five days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 647-689-8182.