Brandon and Blake George brought Montego’s Caribbean Cafe and Bar to Mobile, AL five years ago. The brothers are from Mobile, AL.
Growing up here, Brandon finished high school at Theodore High School and attended Faulkner. Brandon’s interest in music took him from Mobile to Nashville, TN. After living there a while, Brandon moved back to Mobile and went to work with their father, who owns Air Control Mobile, a Commercial Air Conditioning company.
Blake graduated from Faith Academy, then attended Watkins Art Design College in TN. He then moved back to Mobile and attended the University of South Alabama for two years, then transferred back to Watkins Art Design College to finish, where he got his degree in Film. Blake had enough credit hours from the University of South Alabama to have Alumni status and is an Alumni from both colleges. Blake said what he learned the most from attending college was structure, and it has helped him with advertising.
Brandon, at the age of 28, decided he did not want to be in the A/C business forever, so he decided to purchase a franchise restaurant. He had difficulties finding the right location that was within the guidelines of the franchise, and had purchased a location off Airport Blvd that was 1,800 square feet. He then decided to just open up a restaurant that was not franchised. Blake, at the age of 25, was helping him make the renovations in the restaurant. They were putting in 15 hour days. Neither of the brothers had ever owned a restaurant! They did not have a name, nor did they know what type of restaurant they were going to open. They knew they liked “Themed” restaurants. Their grandfather owned the Zebra Lounge on DIP and they wanted to stick to a “Theme.” They decided they wanted to have a place that “would take people away” and most of all people want to be taken to the Tropics! That is what led them to the “Caribbean” themed restaurant, where when people walk in, they feel like they have left Mobile, while they are in there eating and drinking. When they opened Montego’s, the brothers both cooked and cleaned and did the dishes, and to this day, five years later, they both will still help out in the areas where they are needed.
They wanted to stay away from fried foods, but being in the South, that was impossible to do. So they added a fryer to the kitchen and started serving Chicken Fingers and fries. They buy local seafood from Gulf Seafood out of Bayou la Batre, and they try to get local produce as much as possible. Their beef is Certified Angus. The menu ranges from American food, Mexican food and Caribbean food. The top sellers on the menu are the Monte Burger and the Fish Tacos. With the Ahi Tuna Nachos falling in right behind those two. They have 48 Craft Beers on tap, with Haint Blue from Mobile Brewery, Fairhope Brewery and Big Beach Brewery, along with some from Mississippi and South Carolina. The Haint Blue, IPA Ale, are among the top favorites with the Castaway being a favorite mixed drink.
I asked Blake and Brandon what their “biggest challenge” has been. They both agreed that it is hiring people to work that have not lived in a life without electronics. The Millennials! Their personable communicating skills and dealing with the public are lacking due to always communicating through a device. The generations above them developed skills in communication and dealing with people, because they did not have the electronics to hinder those from developing. The employees that end up staying are the ones who have the people skills and do connect with the clients who come in. The brothers both agreed that, “not having the knowledge about running a restaurant was useful,” when they started. If they knew all that it would take, they many not have decided to make that big decision.
I asked them to recall one of the “craziest” memories they have had. Blake told the story of the ice storm three years ago, they had power there at the West Mobile Montego’s location, so he and Brandon and one other employee stayed open, serving just pizzas and drinks. They stayed packed and busy! They said it was 4 am before they went home the next morning, laughing!
In talking with Blake about the regulars who come in the restaurant, that they have gotten to know over these five years, along with the experience of owning a restaurant/bar, I asked him, “If you could write a book or make a movie, what would you title it as?” He said “SERVE”.
Blake and Brandon give back into our community with donations to the new Mobile Soccer League, USA Athletics, Cancer Society and Child Advocacy Center, to just name a few.
When you are out and about wanting to try something exciting and different, come visit one of their two locations!