On the Western Highway, between Belize City and Belmopan and a few miles after Belize Zoo, there’s a little haven “where friends meet”. Amigo’s Restaurant and Bar is a relaxed place, with a simple but tasty menu offering local dishes, like tamales and burritos, or more westernised burgers and sandwiches, also being a hangout point for tourists and locals alike. Conveniently located right next to Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, where we would spend most of our time in Belize, we were pleasantly surprised to find a space with personality and, the best part of it, we met Sue, the restaurant owner.
Sue is an American from Ohio who grew up in Unionville, a town divided between two states, where the legal drinking age was lower on the Ohio side and all the bars were across the street from the Kansas side. We sat with a couple of Belikins, Belize’s only beer, and we asked Sue if we could interview her about the bar. We ended up laughing our eyes out with the stories she had to tell about her life in Belize. How she ended up here anyway? You can say, in her case, she found out about Belize by pure chance. The boyfriend at the time, Don, lost a flight to Costa Rica and decided to ask for a ticket to the next flight south, no matter what destination. Guess what? He ended up flying to Belize! He was so impressed with the country that later they both decided to live here. Like Sue and Don, many other expats decided to make this country their new home and they’re one of the main forces to push the economy up, as they invest in Belize and create job opportunities among the locals.
Sue’s excellent enterprising skills created several business opportunities in Belize, from a slaughter plant to a sand and gravel extraction operation, a citrous farm, a restaurant supply business, a hydroponic lettuce farm and finally the restaurant. “I needed a place to socialise”, she says, and so in 2004, Amigo’s was born out of a napkin drawing during a night with friends.
Sitting at the bar, when it’s happy hour, you can play “shoot your wad” and get a dollar discount on the next Belikin, or loose yourself just by watching the peculiar decor: lots of cool and funny signs bought in flea markets and truck stops about drinking culture, including some history as well, as you can see the plaque of the Mosquito Coast film crew. Sue told us she met Harrison Ford and Jimmy Buffet when they were in Belize filming the movie! From meeting movie stars to drinking with the British army lads that would park their tanks beside JB’s, the first bar in Sue’s property and the only one on the road to Belmopan in the late 80’s, this “gal” has seen and lived to the fullest in Belize. Amigo’s survived a hurricane in 2010 and now is for sale, “I don’t want any more trouble, just want to come as a customer”, she says, with a naughty smile.
Places are made by people and for sure Amigo’s is a special one to hang out. Just sit at the bar late afternoon and you’ll see Sue laughing with her friends and welcoming you with a warm smile.
The restaurant is opened all week, serving breakfast after 8am, lunch and dinner till 9.30pm approx. Be sure to come around 5pm to play the “shoot your wad game” and enjoy some more fresh Belikins with discount!