A few weeks ago, my dad uttered a phrase I never thought I'd hear him say..."Want to try that Jamaican place out Shenandoah Avenue?" Uhhhh...heck yes! Depending on the type of person you are, this is the sort of restaurant you would drive by and either be really excited or really frightened. It is in an "interesting" part of town and there's not much in the way or advertising or marketing, but it definitely appeared to be authentic. The restaurant is called Little Jamaica, and they are serving up some unique Caribbean cuisine.
I had driven by Little Jamaica a couple times on the way to puppy obedience school and my dad had heard good things about it from one of his employees at work, so we decided to try it for lunch one day. He brought his employee along with us to help navigate the menu and we were the only people in the restaurant when we walked in. The menu featured an assortment of curry and stew dishes as well as a variety of meats, including chicken, fish, goat, and oxtail. I decided to have the Jerk Chicken, which came with black beans and rice, cabbage, and plantain chips.
The restaurant offers very little in terms of atmosphere, and they appear to do a decent amount of takeout. We sat at a table outside and noticed a few people come pick up food and eat while sitting on the hoods of their cars - must be some sort of insider thing. I don't know if I would rush to bring a visitor here, but these are the sorts of restaurants that a give a town's dining scene true character. It's easy to find fancy and flashy restaurants when you hang out in the popular parts of town where everyone is trying to be seen. But it's more of an adventure to try the places that are full of character and off the beaten path. And Little Jamaica offers such an experience.
Little Jamaica Restaurant
3526 Shenandoah Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24017