Jasmine Gerald of Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine, which was voted Best Caribbean Restaurant, Black Plate Awards 2021, is an entrepreneurial spirit with a can-do attitude.
A beautiful woman, soft-spoken, regal and brave, Jasmine opened Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine, her first restaurant, during COVID-19 on Restaurant Row, and over a year later, it’s thriving.
To understand the boldness of Jasmine’s boss-in-charge move, allow me to reacquaint you with the history of “Restaurant Row,” a moniker that wasn’t made official until 1973. This stretch of expensive New York real estate (46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue) has been home to restaurants since the early 20th century with the oldest establishment, Barbetta, opened in 1906.
Enter Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the entire world was shut down and put on pause.
Here’s what Jasmine Gerald of Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine had to share about stepping into your dream with passion and purpose.
Amsterdam News: Ms. Jasmine, your place, Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine, is delicious. Where are you from?
Jasmine Gerald: Thank you. I’m from the St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands.
AmNews: I can’t believe that you started during the pandemic. Is this true?
JG: Yes, it’s true. We opened up on November 4th of 2020. It was an opportunity that was presented to me by one of my partners and she told me to come and look at this space [371 W. 46th] which was vacant. I roped in my other partners, one of whom is my mother, and we all loved it and that’s how Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine was created.
AmNews: Your location is everything and please, color me impressed. This is a bold move. This is Restaurant Row.
JG: [laughing] Location is important. You know what’s so funny, when I first went to look at it, I had an open perspective but once I stepped inside, I fell in love with the place. No, we all fell in love with it.
AmNews: Besides giving us delicious home cooking, what else did you want to accomplish with opening your restaurant?
JG: I wanted to open a place that would provide employment. I wanted to open a place that made you feel at home when you walked into the place, and give you that Caribbean feel, and it’s away from that madness outside. You feel like you are at peace, on a Caribbean island and you feel that love.
AmNews: Gosh, that’s exactly how my colleague and I felt. Hey. You hit your objective, beautifully.
JG: Thank you. A lot of people tell us that the place reminds them of being with their grandmothers, of being back home.
AmNews: Well, that’s the cuisine too. Delicious and surprisingly light. A perfect meal before going to see a Broadway theater, and your staff is attentive enough but they give you space.
JG: When you come in they say they feel love and that’s important for us. Our main cook has been cooking for over 35 years and is the originator of the Jazzy Pasta.
AmNews: What is Jazzy Pasta? I had the slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone oxtail with gravy, and my colleague had the Jerk Chicken wings with a sauce he said was spicy but not too hot.
JG: You have to try the Jazzy Pasta. It’s penne pasta in a creamy sauce with basil, red, yellow, and green peppers, carrots, and parmesan cheese.
AmNews: I see a lot of famous folks have been dropping by. I’m sure it’s word-of-mouth and congratulations. You deserve it.
JG: Thank you. I feel really humbled by it all.
To learn more check out a Restaurant Row Gem: Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine
New York Live TV https://youtu.be/E4jShhG2f3Y via @YouTube
Address: 371 W. 46th St, New York, N.Y.
Phone: 646-964-5337; Reservations: opentable.com, resy.com
@JasmineCaribbeanCuisine for Instagram and Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine on Facebook