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One of the pandemic’s bright spots is meeting resilient entrepreneurs who want to be part of bringing back New York. Jasmine Gerald has a beauty business, and when a client — Linda Salamon — suggested they opened a restaurant, she roped in her partner, Lloyd Hollie, and created Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine on Restaurant Row. The new spot opened this week and has made an impression in Hell’s Kitchen.
“Everyone thinks it is crazy that we’re opening a restaurant now,” Jasmine says through laughter. “As Caribbean people, we’re so resilient to hard times. We persevere. We have a saying: ‘one love’ — we’ll be okay; it’s gonna be all right.”
Jasmine, Linda and Lloyd all wanted to be a part of bringing New York back, while creating a home space where people can go in tough times. “I’m in the beauty business and Linda’s in real estate,” said Jasmine. “So we, we have never been in the restaurant business before. This is all a new adventure for us.”
She added: “We’re serving authentic Caribbean food. The ambience is very bright. We have Caribbean music playing. The chefs are amazing.”
They have transformed the inside and outside of the space that was formerly La Pulperia. Caty Wooley painted the eye-catching exterior mural. Indoors, the mood continues with similarly vibrant colors and a long bar (which currently cannot serve customers during COVID-19). There is space to dine at the current 25% capacity and outdoor seating on Restaurant Row is available.
Chef Whitney Callaway has created a menu with dishes like Ackee & Saltfish (with extra gravy optional), Rasta Pasta, and Loaded Plantain Chips.
There are many vegan options — including Jackfruit Curry with Quinoa and Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant.
“So many people are down. We want them to come in and see the bright colors and to make them happy. To remind them of the Caribbean, remind them of home. Even though some of us can’t get on a plane, we’re bringing joy and food to them here on Restaurant Row,” said Jasmine. “We want to spread the love, one meal at a time.”
Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine is at 371 W46th Street. jasminecaribbeancuisine.com