Friday at 12th and Jefferson will be like a day at the beach in Jamaica. Taste of the Caribbean will host its monthly fish fry — another step in the changes at the former home of Waid’s and, the restaurant’s owners hope, another moment to further connect with the surrounding neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of building fences, credibility — and really being infused in the community so this can be good for us,” co-owner Carlene Comrie tells CHS. She and Dwayne Blake have operated a restaurant in the shadow of Waid’s since 2013 but with the troubled night spot closing in June and plans to revive a nightclub there apparently ended, the entrepreneurs are now making 1212 E Jefferson theirs with plans to “take over the establishment” as a full-fledged, true-to-Jamaica restaurant.
“We see a lot of folks offering jerk and Jamaican but it’s not really authentic,” Comrie says. “The spice level is traditional, You’ll taste the pimento. You’ll taste the habanero.”
Ready to put the Waid’s chapter behind them and get back to their goal of creating a successful restaurant business, Comrie and Blake are investing in the space with plans to expand hours and offerings. Coming soon will be a liquor license with Caribbean rums and Jamaican beer. The partners want Taste of the Caribbean to have a life of its own.
“Music will be part of the offering,” Comrie said. “There has to be a balance that is struck so that we can do business and offer our customers a taste of the culture.”
Friday’s monthly fish fry is part of what she hopes helps Taste connect with the community.
“In Jamaica, it’s a big thing,” Comrie said. “We go to the beaches and have a nice fish fry.” You can stop by from 11 AM to 9 PM to be part of it. Comrie said they’ll keep the fry events to once per month to help you keep your beach bod.
Taste of the Caribbean is currently open 11 AM to 9 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 4 PM to 9 PM on Sundays. Keep track of changes and learn more on the Taste Facebook page.