A tasty homerun – the stories behind the local produce served at The Coco Café

As you’ve probably seen, heard, or even better -- experienced yourself by now, we recently opened our own restaurant, The Coco Café. And just like every other service, amenity, or add-on we have introduced at Boardwalk, this new restaurant has a well thought out concept behind it. Of course. So, behind its colorful and beautiful esthetics, created in a collaboration with our designer-mastermind of over a decade, Claudia Nooren Ruiz-Vasquez, The Coco Café demands a deeper dive into its own DNA and connectivity to Aruba’s roots.

What’s in a name

Let’s start with the name for our restaurant. That could have been anything, right? We landed on The Coco Café to emphasize the connection with its location on the grounds of a historic coco plantation, surrounded by dozens of coco palm trees in our lush gardens. Yet a name is just an empty shell if you don’t add further meaning to it, so we made sure our menu would reflect the same coconut-rooted inspiration. Hence menu items such as our coco poke bowl, Caribbean coconut curry bowl and coconut gelato. For those of you interested in more backstory on our historic grounds, do make a stop on the boardwalk next to the parking lot, leading to the main entrance where a sign explains in full detail Boardwalk’s coco plantation background, and how Palm Beach got its name.

Passion for local

Embedded in Boardwalk’s mission statement is our striving to be one with our island, our people, and our community, and to protect & uplift Aruba’s nature and heritage. What that means in relationship to the way we run our local business is that we always strive to support as many other local -small- businesses as possible and try to source materials, product and produce in our own ‘backyard’ as much as possible. Not an easy task on a small island with a desert climate and limited resources. For some perspective: about 98% of produce is imported. Our preferred choice will still be ‘local first’. If available, that is.

Supporting Aruba’s culinary community

We feel humbled and extremely thankful that we were able to receive the invaluable support of three local chefs who assisted in putting The Coco Café’s menu together. In doing so, these top-of-the-crop-chefs integrated our wish to reflect Boardwalk’s coco plantation history, Aruba’s culinary heritage, as well as a focus on healthy and vegan choice, blended with some of our own Belgian roots and Mediterranean travels. Not an easy task, yet they succeeded. Find more information on the local chefs that created our menu here.

Next step was to source the right local farmers and producers who could deliver fresh ingredients for our new menu items with consistency and high quality. Luckily, over the past decade Aruba has seen a growing number of local farmers and producers, so we were able to succeed in contracting seven local suppliers. As a result, by ordering your freshly prepared meals from The Coco Café you are also supporting our islands’ culinary community. Cool, right?

Meet the producers

In case you are wondering which local farmer or producer is contributing to what dish on the Coco Café menu, we’ve gathered a small overview for you.

Petite Greens Aruba

Female-operated and owned by local farmer Loreen Cooijman since 2017, is producer of high-quality microgreens for chefs in the Caribbean based in Santa Cruz, Aruba. Microgreens are vegetable shoots picked just after the first leaves have developed. Most microgreens contain 40 times more nutrients and vitamins than regular greens, making it a healthy addition to vegan dishes and an ideal finishing touch to culinary plates. At The Coco Café you will find Petite Greens’ microgreens as garnish on our shakshuka and burrata.


A hydroponic installation operated and owned by Frank Timmen since 2014, is producer of different varieties of lettuce, some 3,000 heads of lettuce a week out of an impressive operation in Paradera, Aruba. Over the past decade, Happyponics grew to become the largest locally farmed lettuce operation in dry, sun- and wind rich Aruba. No ideal circumstances for lettuce growing, hence the hydroponic installation for shallow streams of cycled water, and a greenhouse to keep the harsh sunlight out. Lettuce grown by Happyponics is used at The Coco Café in our tuna tataki and on the Boardwalk Whopper.


Is a local Sourdough Boutique founded and female-owned by ‘bread boss’ Zaida Everon, run from her own home in Gasparito, Aruba. The name T2 is a nod to her late father (Tito) and ‘pan’ in Papiamento means bread. From her home-based micro bakery Zaida creates real bread as she calls it, filled with passion, positive energy and healthy sourdough containing many nutrients that benefit your gut microbiomes. T2Pan breads at The Coco Café’s are served with your order of eggs scramble, our signature breakfast tower, the bread basket, our avocado toast, and along with the charcuterie board. The brioche and vegan buns on your burgers are also from T2Pan.

Al Fresco

Is a locally owned family business run by father and daughter Alvaro and Alejandra Maya. They offer a varied vegan line of frozen products such as burgers and small snacks like falafel, and sauces such as chimichurri. As one of the early adapters in Aruba of the worldwide vegan and plant-based food trend, Al Fresco made all kinds of vegan burgers accessible to a ‘mainstream’ audience in Aruba, having their products available for purchase in bigger local supermarkets such as Superfood. Choices in their vegan burgers are based on chickpeas, black beans and lentils. At The Coco Café you can sample Al Fresco’s vegan bean burger on the Vegan Whopper.

Diano Aruba

A local small business owned and operated by Giovanni Petrizzo, is Aruba’s on-island producer of burrata. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a semisoft white Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream. It looks more or less the same as mozzarella, yet it is much softer on the inside and very creamy, excellent in salads. Make sure to taste the burrata Aruba style on The Coco Café’s food all day menu, which is a salad served with tropical papaya.

Coco Dushi

Is a locally owned and operated by husband-and-wife Jesús and Anielka Jiménez. While their small business started eight years ago, importing ready-made gelatos in coco shells, they listened to the demand of their local audience to make the product fresh, on island. Today, Coco Dushi produces all its artisan crafted gelatos, vegan, lactose-free and sugar-free sorbets and popsicles in Aruba, making use of the best high-quality ingredients from Italy. They are most known for their coconut gelato in its own shell, which is available at The Coco Café, along with the mango passon fruit sorbet.

Hot Delight Aruba

Is hot sauce is produced by three generations of the local Aurelio Ruiz family. Their Hot Delight Gourmet sauces vary in taste and hotness: there’s Hot Delight Papaya (mild hot), and Hot Delight Madam (very hot). These sauces became all-time favorites in Aruba, and are used both in home cooking and in restaurants. Hot Delight sauces are homemade and prepared with extra care, using only fresh ingredients. Want to spice things up like a local? Look for the bottle of hot sauce on each table at The Coco Café, carrying a tag ‘hot & local’. They are also available for purchase in our Lobby Store.

Boardwalk News!

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba will be an Adults-Only property by the 1st of January 2025.

For those traveling with children ages 12-17, reservations with departure by December 31, 2024 will be accepted. Please contact [email protected] for more information.