Originally designed as a stately Caribbean great house on the coconut tree speckled Petra Plantation, the Grand Old House was built by Boston businessman William Henry Law in 1908.
The foundations are constructed with locally grown ironwood, an exceptionally tough or hardest wood in the world, which helped the house survive the strongest of storms, including a multitude of norwesters, the no name hurricane back in 1932 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
When Mr. Law left the Cayman Islands, the Lambert family came to oversee his business and to live in the house. The Lamberts entertained frequently, hosting elegant parties. When the Lambert family left Cayman for Jamaica in 1925, the house remained in the care of Olive Hinds, the family housekeeper, for many years.
During its long history, the Grand Old House has been used as a Sunday school for local children, a hospital for soldiers wounded in World War II, a beauty parlour and a shelter for island residents during storms and hurricanes. Old-time residents even tell the story that a doctor once performed an operation on a dining room table.
In the 1950s, the house passed into the hands of retired U.S. Army Colonel Pirnie. It was in his time of ownership that Cayman’s first Rotary Club was chartered at the house in 1966. Grand Old House was then purchased by Bob and Jeanne Brenton and other partners, who turned it into a restaurant in 1969. At that time, South Sound Road was no more than a dirt track and the restaurant was lit by oil lamps.
Although there were not many tourists in those days, the restaurant became a favourite with residents. For several years in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, Grand Old House was managed by the late Friedman Paul Erhardt, a German who was better known on American television as Chef Tell. Currently, the Grand Old House is owned by a group of Caymanian entrepreneurs who have supported and maintained it in its original form with new additions such as the 5000 square foot, ocean front deck.
Today, Grand Old House remains one of the finest restaurants on Grand Cayman, with an award-winning wine list, impeccable service and sophisticated island charm. Its seaside veranda offers the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner, and it’s also been the site of more than one thousand weddings and countless community events and celebrations. As an enduring symbol of perseverance and good taste, Grand Old House is a unique Caymanian treasure.