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Taste of

Jamaica

By Scott Millsop

A Taste of Jamaica

This NoshUp will be a little different. The restaurant is “A Taste of Jamaica” but the dinner event will be at The Brightside on E. 3 rd St. There isn’t enough room at their home location to host one of our events, but we definitely want to give them some exposure, and you should certainly want to taste the tastes. It will not be inauthentic because authenticity is the whole point. It involves grills and outdoor cooking wherever they are. Quanya Sinclair, one of the partners, reports that people who have visited Jamaica often come by their location at 100 James H. McGee to give it a try and they all report that it tastes just like the food on the island.

Photos by Bobby Tewksbury

It’s fitting that we’re setting up at Brightside. Taste of Jamaica caters some of their during music events. They are the food purveyors when Solistic or Luv Lox Experiment plays that music room. Fine cooking on the fly is the roots of this story. Chris Strong – the other partner - does the cooking. He came to the states at age 35 from Jamaica. Back on the island he was a farmer. He mentions tomatoes and onions but when he says yams there is a big smile on his face. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. White yam. Yellow yam.” As it turns out, we had big smiles too. There is a yam and carrot side dish that is surprising and…sensational is the right word.

 

Chris never had a restaurant background. But he liked to cook for his friends. Quanya was one of his friends and she said “His food is so good, and I don’t see anything like that around here. So we just put a Facebook post out there and created an event. A pop up on Riverside. We just said ‘Jamaican Food’ and put a menu out there. But do you know I had over 1.5K people interested in the event and people just showed up. We sold out. The line wrapped around the block, and that’s how we knew.”


Their life as a pop-up restaurant began. They were at JW’s Wine in Trotwood sometimes. Sugar’s Lounge on North Main was a host location. They got an everyday gig at Ohio Chief’s on Leo Street. Then they went to Salem Ave. in Trotwood. Now they’re a fixed location on James H. McGee and they’re planning for a second location. Quanya is young and pretty and enthusiastic and a big fan of Chris and his food. She was a marketing major and she just showed us all how it’s done. Luckily, they still do catering. And they’re engaged.
 

Twice a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays they host a Dance Party and stay open til 2. The Luv Lox Experiment plays there. This is your Westside Saturday night Reggae throw down, one of those bits of urban lore you need to be All Dayton.
 

So, what is Jerk Chicken? Well, it has to be grilled. And there’s a pepper. Scotch Bonnet Pepper. And a sauce that involves allspice, pimentos and pepper. It’s spicy but subtle. This can be served on a platter or to-go box with Oxtail, Chicken Curry, Jerk Salmon and more.

 

Like other venues that powered through the pandemic, they do a lot of business on Door Dash. It will be fun at The Brightside, but if you visit the home shop (Mon-Sat, Noon-8) you’ll find there is a second restaurant sharing the space. It’s called The Munchin Buddha. (Yum.) More on that later.

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