FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA – They say when you visit a country you should go ‘local’ and experience the real culture of the place. For Freeport, that would be a drive to Toni Macaroni’s Conch experience at Taino Beach.
Macaroni’s open aired, thatch-roofed shack was not your run of the mill restaurant. At Tony’s you can only get Roast Conch, his specialty, regular Conch salad, Conch Burgers, Roast Lobster and Shrimp, and Gully Wash cocktails of course.
Tony was unfortunately forced to close down due to severe hurricane damage in 2016. Despite this setback, he was nominated by USA Today as one of the Top 20 Best Beach Bars in the Caribbean, showing that his popularity is still going strong despite being closed.
“Since moving to Grand Bahama and finding Tony’s – we’ve made his place a real Sunday family event in my home,” stated Magus Alnebeck, General Manager of Pelican Bay. “Tony’s Conch Experience is just the eclectic and ideal spot for our hotel guests, who want an authentic Bahamian hang out.”
Tony who is pretty infamous in Freeport, if not for his loud and out spoken opinions it’s also for his amiable smile, which keeps tourists returning year after year to see him. A smile, which is, featured in the 2015 Tourism commercials for Grand Bahama.
Over the years his “shack” has been the hangout for famous visitors like Ving Rahmes, Steve Guttenberg, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Jeffery Rush. Treated just like any other persons, Tony’s relaxed, no-nonsense beach bar is truly the perfect hang out for chillin’ in the islands.
Tony, a Nassau native, first visited Freeport in 1970 and took a tour of the City during possible job offer recruitment. The first place they took him was to Taino Beach; nothing was there but the Stoned Crab and one of the islands most beautiful and accessible beaches. It was destiny.
“It was the first beach I saw and I fell in love with it and have been since,” said Macaroni. “I was the first person on the Island in the late 70’s who took Taino Beach as a personal ‘project’ to keep it Clean! I did that with the help of my Boy’s Scout Troupe (circa 1978-79).”
Tony has ‘never met a stranger’, since officially starting his business in February of 1992 his doors have always been open. He closed in the summer of 2016 and was hard hit by hurricane Matthew and is now unable to reopen due to finances and Port regulations. “We are hopeful that local government agencies, and the Grand Bahama Port Authority will assist in quickly granting any approvals and assist with any requirement in order to have this very popular beach bar reopened,” noted Alnebeck.
To get more insight on the real “Conch Experience” you can Google the well-known personality who is captioned by Lonely Planet, magazine “as a self-proclaimed ‘most unique man in The Bahamas’ …known for nonstop teasing and (if you’re female) flirting along with your roast conch or conch salad. It’s all part of the ‘experience’.”
Friends of Tony’s are asking everyone to vote for his bar via the 10 Best website, where he has moved from spot 15 to spot 13 this week already. Person can vote via https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-caribbean-beach-bar-2019/tony-macaronis-conch-experience-freeport-bahamas/?fbclid=IwAR1eFsHlKELT0bzDeo3kb5hgRrHSp041i-ndutNIkhuD4qWm5JwTwfPzoVE