The Untold Truth Of Bahama Breeze

Bahama Breeze is famously known for its Caribbean-inspired cuisine, with dishes on its original International Drive menu ranging from a Jerk Shrimp Pineapple Bowl to a Jamaican Stuffed Plantain Bowl. Its first location was opened in Orlando, Florida in 1996 by Darden Restaurants, a restaurant operator that also owns brands including Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse.

Though the restaurant has over 40 locations across 15 states, every location is distinct in its own way, each having its own menu and live music schedule, which gives the chain a local feel. This individuality is balanced out with the overarching "island" theme all of its restaurants follow. Each restaurant is sectioned out into different areas, with names including "sunset deck," "beach gazebo," and "paradise island," where patrons can sit while enjoying delicious cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages, making it a fan favorite amongst restaurant-goers of all ages. 

However, there are even some facts about this "island getaway" that some of its most loyal customers don't even know. And we're here to spill the backyard iced tea.

Lots of Bahama Breeze locations are in shopping centers, including in northern states

Many of Bahama Breeze's restaurants are located in suburban malls and outlets, despite its ability to transport its customers to a tropical island during their dining experience. These range from its locations in the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware to the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, many of Bahama Breeze's patrons are extremely loyal to their local establishment of the national chain.

And why wouldn't they be? Having a meal at your local Bahama Breeze can teleport you from your middle-class, northeast suburb to the "island getaway" of your dreams, solely through the setup, the live entertainment, and the delicious, Caribbean-inspired food. One frequent customer to the Altamonte Springs location told the Orlando Sentinel that she eats at Bahama Breeze once a week for the good music and outdoor seating. 

Check to see if there is a Bahama Breeze near you if you ever need a little escape from suburbia.

Bahama Breeze happy hours aren't just for adults!

Though Bahama Breeze has self-proclaimed itself to have the "happiest hours around," there are options for younger folks and for those who just may not be keen on drinking. Bahama Breeze's happy hours vary by location but typically are from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays. At its location in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, the happy hour menu exclusively consists of a handful of its appetizers at half price and its Jamaican Jerk Wings priced at $9.99, which diners of all ages can enjoy.

Some locations also have a "happy hour" and a "late-night happy hour," and yes, there's a difference. Taking place after its happy hour times, the late-night happy hour takes "the island spirit up a notch." In its Miami location, the menu pretty much stays the same, but the party starts from 9 p.m. to closing time on Mondays to Thursdays. So, parents, don't hold back from bringing the kids to happy hour (or late night happy hour!) — there are still a bunch of tasty options your little ones can dig into.

You can easily find recipes for its menu items on the Bahama Breeze website

A lot of restaurants try to keep their recipes under wraps, but this isn't the case for Bahama Breeze. It has a whole recipes category on its website, including a published article to its famous Black Bean Soup for customers to recreate at home. For each recipe, there is a clear list of ingredients and directions to follow while preparing the dish. This tool is not only beneficial for those who may not want to eat out all the time, but also for those who can't don't have a Bahama Breeze near them. So if you want to put your cooking skills to the test, or simply want to bring some Island-flavors into your home, head over to the recipes section on the Bahama Breeze website.

However, recipes for some fan favorites, like coconut shrimp and the Black Bean Stuffed Plantain Bowl, have not been published to the site, or at least not yet. Guess some good things just have to be kept a secret.

Bahama Breeze is slightly better at authentic cuisine than another Darden Restaurant

Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze's sister restaurant, is famously known for not serving authentic Italian delicacies (via Mental Floss) and has faced criticism for it. Bahama Breeze has not been under that limelight just yet and has actually received praise from customers, with one patron telling the Orlando Sentinel that she is originally from Jamaica and enjoys everything that she's ordered at the establishment. The Marco Eagle also offers the chain a favorable review, concluding that the reader should make a reservation at their nearest location if they want to try some "Island-inspired cuisine."

One thing to note is that Bahama Breeze labels its dishes as "Caribbean-inspired," while Olive Garden brands itself as an "Italian Kitchen" in its name. Additionally, the Bahama Breeze website makes note of and explains some important terms in Caribbean cuisine, ranging from "soursop" to "boniato." Therefore, the way Darden approached Bahama Breeze might have been a tad bit more culturally sensitive than the way it built the brand for its more well-known sister.

Bahama Breeze has signature events throughout the year

Throughout the year, Bahama Breeze has special menu deals for its patrons such as Viva La Rita and National Rum Day. For National Margarita Day, Bahama Breeze has offered a $5 Classic Margaritas deal, and for Cinco De Mayo, it offered the same discount.

What makes celebrating these special days at Bahama Breeze unique is the spin they put on their menu during these times of the year. For Rumtoberfest in 2016, the Bahama Breeze marketing team came up with crafty ideas for customers to enjoy the month, including a "Coconut Express" special, where personal messages were engraved on 700 coconuts. Another novel idea that came out of this "holiday" was the name the brand gave a flight of three cocktails, which was based on the Bermuda Triangle, according to a Darden blog post. So if you are looking for a more festive dining experience for a great price, Bahama Breeze is your destination!