Pika’s corner, Aruban food with a soul

My friend Hubert Solagnier is a cat with seven lives.  I met him in the early years, as the General Manager of Arubiana Inn. He had graduated the Bushiri hotel school, and was nurturing a career in hospitality. Later on he spent some good years at the Steamboat Buffet serving a million breakfasts each day, and then two decades or so at Tony Roma’s and Amazonia Churrascaria, both great successes at their time. Curacao came next. He hopped across the pond to develop a churrascaria concept there.

But he missed Aruba, and upon arrival on his native isle it seemed to him that a sports bar overlooking Palm Beach was the right thing to invest in. Hubert is a great story teller, and this one is one of his best, how he managed to escape disaster when he successfully sold his Sport’s Bar at Brickell Bay, after opening it and spending serious money, shedding blood, sweat and tears, and still the place was not going anywhere, it was underperforming. Hubert felt like pulling the plug, but then miraculously, a buyer appeared, just in time.

At a funeral a few days later, Hubert heard that the old Palm Beach Refreshments location was available. He immediately said “I do” to the owner, and took the eatery over.

He was on a lucky streak, because he also met a pallet wood furniture maker, when he needed tables and chairs for his new operation. In a nutshell, just when he was thinking of relocating to Colombia to find his fortune there, everything fell into place, here.                               .

Hubert now serves local cuisine, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from that great location on the Palm Beach road. So next time a visitor asks you where he/she can have local food, send them to Hubert for Sopi Carni or Galina Stoba, with Funchi or Pan Bati, and awa cu lamunchi.

The chalk board has a list of daily specials including stewed goat, tongue, tripe, cucumber or pork, and different soups every day. Keshi Yena Hubert says always sells out first. Fresh whole fish, fillet of fish Creole, fish balls, and snail stew are popular. Meat lovers enjoy the rib eye steak and the BBQ ribs.

Hubert’s recently-introduced dinner menu is a hit, simple skewers on the grill, one pound each, of chicken, picanha, ribs, and steak, at super-reasonable prices, good to share, with garlic and chimichuri sauces, and fries. Not just any fries. Yummy yucca fries.

And you will be pleased to see Juancho, a retired Divi bartender, among the friendly, helpful dining room staffers.

One thing I guarantee, Hubert has no more time for golf, Pika’s Corner keeps him and his supportive, hard-working wife Paola very busy!

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August 09, 2017
Rona Coster