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Mar 31, 2023

Ostrich, It’s what’s for Dinner

The Forest Department is not yet allowing the importation of ostriches into Belize until it can come to a categorization on whether the flightless bird is wildlife or poultry, but that has not stopped one businesswoman from carrying on with one of her dreams – opening a restaurant and serving ostrich as one of the exotic meats on its menu. By now, we have all heard of the leader of the Belize People’s Front’s fight with the Forestry Department for not allowing her to import ostriches. But Nancy Marin has a few ostriches of her own that are reproducing, for which she has permission from the Belize Agriculture Health Authority, BAHA, to keep, provided they are within a safe space. Now Marin has built the Volstruis Restaurant at her Ranch Crafts and Eco Park location off the George Price Highway in Georgeville, Cayo. The soft opening of the restaurant is set for April third. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Before now, Belizeans only knew what ostriches look like when they saw one on TV or online, but now, these large flightless birds can not only be seen in Belize, but if you have adventurous taste buds, ostrich meat can now be had in Belize. Businesswoman and farmer, Nancy Marin is opening a restaurant that will cater to customers who have an appetite for exotic meat, and ostriches will be on the menu.


Nancy Marin

Nancy Marin, Owner, Volstruis Restaurant

“The Volstruis Restaurant came about because we’ve been farmers, we have heritage sheep, we have the ostrich now, the, pot belly pigs, giant rabbits, our rabbittry produces very, very fast and we needed an outlet and you know that in 2017 I published a cookbook and we won three different awards. We have the awards up there, and so with that, the family and close friends have always been telling me, get back into restaurant.”


If you want an ostrich meal, you’ll need to make reservations initially, however, since the meat is in short supply at this early stage. But there will be other types of exotic meats you can try as well.


Nancy Marin

“For this first soft opening week we do ask for reservations because we do not have a lot of ostrich meat right now, so I decided to do it because you know how we had that emergency butchering for the ostrich and I decided that I really want people to taste it. I am sure people will fall in love with it. Belizeans like beef and the flavor is just like beef, but it’s, it’s healthier, it’s softer and I’m sure people will fall in love with it. And because I’m still training the cooks, I will be cooking for that week. for this first week. You would be able to get rabbit you will be able to get rabbits and quails, ostrich, we have a heritage breed of sheep that I inherited from. Way back in grandpa’s days and we keep adding to better the breed. So it is very unique. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the country that you will be able to get it. For pork, we’re using the pot belly pigs right now.”


So if you’re traveling on the George Price Highway and you come across the sign in Georgeville and were wondering if you could stop in for fast-food, Marin advises that won’t be served.


Nancy Marin

“I am not going to have fried chicken. It’s going to be different healthy options. It’s more geared if, I don’t know if you ever saw my book Marion, but it’s going to be based on my book, it’s Caribbean, Mediterranean. It’s a very unique mix, but it’s very, very healthy.”


But the restaurant is not the only feature that Marin and her family hopes will draw hungry customers wanting exotic food. Marin also hopes to have her own line of locally-produced wines to serve with the food.


Nancy Marin

“We closed a deal with a winesmith. We know that he’s a Belizean that has excelled in wine making, and we made a partnership where he’s going to produce a brand of wine exclusively for our restaurant and our customers. It’s going to be a wine that is exclusively paired for ostriches.”


But it doesn’t end there. For good measure, Marin will also add a whole new and different kind of entertainment. It will cater to people who have watched ice skating and longed to know what that experience is like.


Nancy Marin

“We also have the ice rink that we couldn’t do last year and we are doing it this year in October so that it can be ready way before Christmas.”


Marion Ali

“Tell me about that.”


Nancy Marin

“The ice rink, it’s a synthetic ice. The company is called Glyce. It is very environmentally friendly. You don’t need any water. You don’t need any electricity. It’s self lubricating when you, when you brush it, and that’s going to go right in front here from where we are sitting from the restaurant. We intend to have trainers to train kids to learn how to skate. We already have from, since last year, the hockey team in Canada, they want to come to do hockey in the tropics. That’s supposed to – everybody’s getting crazy about doing ice skating in the tropics. Belize will actually be the first country in Central America to have it. Mexico already has it. I think Barbados has it. A couple countries in the Caribbean, but we will be the first.”


Marion Ali for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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