The Tilton Inn and Onions Pub and Restaurant are owned and operated by Kathy and Allan Powell, formerly of the town of St George in Bermuda. In Bermuda they owned and operated Wharf Tavern and Freddies Pub. Anyone who may have traveled on the Majesty (Royal Majesty, NCL) cruise ships to Bermuda may be familiar with them. Kathy grew up in Brighton, Colorado and traveled extensively in the Caribbean. She met Allan in Bermuda who had been busy with a hospitality career that included working at the prestigious Coral Beach Club, Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, Swizzle Inn and The White Heron, which served as inspiration for The Onions Pub. The entire family are avid sailors and daughter Haley is the former US Female National Champion in Optimist Class and 2nd Bermudian Girl to compete at Optimist Worlds (World Championships) featuring the top 5 from each country. Son Ryan, is also an avid sailor, and enjoys cooking, lacrosse and the martial arts. His dream is to one day take over at Onions.
History of Bermuda Onions
The seed for Bermuda Onions were brought over to Bermuda from the Canary Islands before 1888, and within a few years Bermuda got into the onion growing business. Before then, a primary business in Bermuda had been shipbuilding — the island had many cedar forests — but the shipbuilding business sank, as it were, with the advent of steel ships. By 1890, D. Landreth & Co. in America was importing from grown from Canary Island seed (though the company noted that the skin of the White Bermuda Onion “had quite a yellowish character”). By the beginning of the 1900s, the export of onions and Easter Lilies to the American mainland were important sources of income for the island . Bermuda Islanders still refer to themselves as “onions” and that is how this restaurant got its name. By 1898, though, Texas of all places decided they wanted a piece of the action. Seed was imported from the Canary Islands and planted near Cotulla, Texas. The onions were very popular, and by 1907, more than 1,000 train carloads of onions were shipped out of Texas; by 1917, nearly 7,000 carloads. By 1920, they had displaced Bermuda as the major supplier of the onions. Throughout this period, though, the seed had continued to come from the Canary Islands. Owing to the greatly increased demand for the seed, Canary Island suppliers found themselves increasingly unable to provide reliable, quality seed. In 1925, seed was brought over from Spain for Grano type onions. In 1933, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station began to develop new cultivars from this Grano type seed. The new cultivars developed eventually displaced the Canary Island seed by 194.6, and Bermuda onions faded from all but popular memory.