Jeff's Pirates Cove - Ipan's International Landmark
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
I had occasion to visit Jeff's Ipan location this past week and was once again reminded of my reasons for loving Guam so much. It's hard not to be captivated by the awesome majesty of the Pacific Ocean and it's infinite expanse, especially when viewed from the vantage point of the Pirates Cove beachfront. Jeff's is more than just a beach bar...it's one of Guam's tourist attractions; it's a popular location for concerts, weddings, birthdays, fund-raisers, anniversaries, and company parties; it's home of the bi-annual Arts & Crafts Fair; it houses a uniquely interesting museum that has ancient Chamorro artifacts; it has a gallery of photographs documenting extraordinary events and people from the Pirates Cove's colorful past; it has a gift shop where one can select from a variety of souvenirs, mementos, and interesting local handicrafts; and it has a full-service restaurant that is famous for its Homemade Cheeseburger and a local favorite, Jeff's Chamoru Fiesta Plate. Its ship-shaped bar was created by the famous local craftsman, Mike Genereux, and has his name inscribed on a plate on the ship's bow.
Jeff's Pirates Cove has its traditions, stories and legends, one of it's more notable being the Cove's connection to the WWII straggler, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, who'd spent 28 years hiding in the jungles of Talofofo, sometimes listening to the Cove's festivities from the Togcha Hills. A section of the photo gallery chronicles Yokoi's experiences, both during and after his long jungle ordeal. There was a Malay pirate ship in this area, too, with a village where the pirates had settled, however, all traces of this were wiped out by Typhoon Karen.
Tourists and local families enjoy coming to Jeff's because of it's open air atmosphere and unique historical appeal, with all of its maritime artifacts and displayed items. Jeff Pleadwell, owner of The Cove since 1979, has himself become a legendary figure, with his Hemingway-esque countenance and "Old Man of the Sea" toughness, he has fine-tuned the restaurant service and offers a selection of menu items such as Fish and Chicken Kelaguen (both available as salads, and all priced at $8.00); deep fried shrimp ($12.00); Jeff's Chamoru Fiesta Plate ($10.00) has a combination of local favorites such as BBQ Chicken, BBQ Ribs (Jeff's uses ironwood for cooking, which imparts a special flavor to the well-marinated ribs and chicken), Fried Chicken, Shrimp, Red Rice, and Kelaguens; Steak and Seafood Dinners (Many selections featured on their daily menu board; and finally, a family of sandwiches, from both grilled and fried fish, to hot dogs, and a family of Hamburgers, including Jeff's Famous Homemade Cheeseburger ($8.00). This huge sandwich fills the heartiest of appetites, and comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles.
The Cove's Bar is historic, too, and a tour of duty for Guam's military is not complete without the requisite visit to Jeff's. Traditions at the bar are still observed, with one bar seat's position having an unofficial honorarium for long-time Ipan resident, Carmen La Fata, who's elbows have worn the bar top down creating permanent slots. A selection of cold beers - some obscenely over-sized (Large Bottle Beers), tropical drinks, cocktails, wines, soft drinks, and juices are available. Happy Hour is 4-6 pm Monday - Friday. Jeff's Soft Ice Cream Cup is one of their precious commodities, receiving more care and attention than a Kobe Cow - a bargain at $1.50.
The restaurant is Open Sundays 11:00 am - 7 pm, Mondays-Saturdays 11:00 am to 6 pm, and the Gift Shop is open daily 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Take out orders are constant, and you can call yours in at 789-TOGO (8646). The restaurant's number is 789-1582. Try Jeff's for a fun adventure, but keep an eye out for pirates!