Come to Punta Gorda hungry and one place you’ll sure hear recommended is Gomier’s. Located just to right of the “Welcome to PG” sign at the entrance to town, Gomier’s Restaurant is a true PG landmark. No rice and beans here—instead, you’ll have your choice of fresh seafood, fish burgers, veggie burritos, curry shrimp and tofu, vegetable salads, heart of palm, soups, homemade breads, cakes, pizzas and more. Everything at Gomier’s is made from scratch and all of it with locally purchased and healthy ingredients. Many people are curious how Gomier’s, PG’s most well known restaurant, got its start. I caught up with Gomier, the owner, manager, cook, and waiter, to see if he could help.
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Originally from Saint Lucia, Gomier (real name Igantius Longville) has had a fascinating life. A licensed plumber, agronomist, agriculture technician, and cook, he did somewhat of everything before settling down in PG. In his native village of Canaries, Gomier was even the official administrator in charge of the town’s water supply, and this before he was 18.
As far as cooking goes, though, Gomier claims to have started as a teenager, during his weekends at the river or sea with his friends. He recalls how they would each contribute something for lunch. “Everyone would bring a little food from home and then we would go and catch some fish. After we had all the ingredients, we just needed someone to cook it up, so we took turns each week preparing the meal. Since my friends often said that my meals were the most delicious, they began calling me ‘The Cook.’ I was ‘the cook’ every weekend after that.’”
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Gomier eventually left Saint Lucia to work as a field technician with Plenty International in Liberia, and then moved to Punta Gorda to work with Plenty International in Belize. His mission in each place was to teach rural farmers how to grow soybeans, adding healthy supplements to nutrient poor diets. When he opened Gomier’s, back in the 90s, Plenty International-Belize’s office was located just upstairs. His goal was to provide healthy foods—including salads, soups, tofu, seafood, and vegetarian dishes—that were missing from most of PG’s menus.
Although Gomier has lived and cooked throughout region, this commitment to healthy foods and healthy lifestyles is the common trait in all of his work. To hear Gomier tell it: “I remember when I was young, I would see old people walking around the village happy as could be. Eating only fresh fruits and vegetables from the forest kept them healthy and well. That was when I came to the realization that a person can have all the money in the world, but still die from an unhealthy diet. I thought ‘what’s the point of having money if you eat poorly and die young?’ Some people say that money is the way to wealth—for me, I say that healthy is wealthy.”
To fulfill his motto, “Healthy is Wealthy”, Gomier is now developing his own fully organic farm, where he will teach visitors the principles of organic agriculture while providing 100% organic produce for his restaurant. Meanwhile, his mission of providing healthy and unique dishes for PG locals and visitors alike continues. So, if you’re in town and want to have a PG one-of-a-kind meal, go to Gomier’s. It is a guaranteed delicious (and healthy) dining experience, cooked up with food that is good for the body and a mindset that is good for the soul.
Writer’s Favorites: Breadfruit Chips, Veggie Fritters, and Hummus: The chips and the veggie fritters (similar to falafel) combined with Gomier’s homemade hummus will blow you away. Also, be sure to ask Gomier if he has any soups—never on the menu, infrequently available, but always amazing.