From Jamaica to Roseville, with love
27 Oct 2022
News, Success Stories, Choose Roseville
Opening a restaurant is often a labor of love - for the food, the people or a combination of each. However, for Dennise E., co-owner of Roseville’s new Jamaican Caribbean Cuisine, starting a new restaurant was not exactly high on her priority list.
“I am a nurse and cosmetologist, so when my fiancé said he wanted to open a restaurant, I felt I was too busy and was not very interested,” she said. “But now I have come to love the experience of introducing so many kind and friendly people to the foods we grew up with!”
In April, she and her fiancé Donald Sutherland opened the Jamaican Caribbean Cuisine restaurant at 1237 Larpentuer Ave W in Roseville. Each grew up in Jamaica’s Portland Parish, known as “The Jerk Capital of the World.” Their menu features jerk dishes made with fresh spices from their homeland, perfected in recipes they experienced with their grandparents, developed from generations before. Their offerings feature these lifetime experiences, such as rice dishes with fish, chicken, goat or oxtail. One feature dish is the Ackee and Saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish.
“We pour a lot of love into our fresh foods,” said Dennise. “We often hear a customer is amazed at how the curry they eat with us is different than curry they have had elsewhere.”
Dennise and Sutherland manage the restaurant essentially on their own, with periodic help from family members. Sutherland cooks while she serves and greets customers throughout their open hours of 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., subject to seasonal changes, every day except Monday.
Dennise has lived in Roseville for 20 years and enjoys the great schools, natural areas and friendly people. Sutherland moved to Roseville from New York a year ago.
“We choose to live and work here,” she said. “We want to bring a piece of our lives to the great people of this area.”
Dennise said the people of Roseville are open and welcoming to new businesses, evident through the help they received from the Roseville City Council to get up and running. The process could be quite stressful with an expedited timeline of four months from when they wrote their first rent check to opening.
“With all the licenses and classes to learn, oh my gosh, it was quite a lot,” said Dennise. “The advice from the Roseville City Council was so helpful.”
Today, after six months of operation, Dennise is happy with the experience and surprised at the number of people from Jamaica that she did not know living in the area.
“We both enjoy being with people, talking about life or the food they offer, and we are happy to help improve what we offer,” she said. “We have received so much positive feedback from customers that they needed a local restaurant like this.”
As they come out of their startup curve, Dennise and Sutherland are focused on improved advertising to drive their business.
“We know we have to improve the customer recognition because we are off the street a little bit,” she said. “We are trying to save to improve our advertising and get a sign up outside to direct customers to where our location is.”
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.