Burgers and pizza are always a stone’s throw away, but there’s one place in Junction City to find traditional Jamaican dishes such as curry goat, escovich fish, and ackee and saltfish.
Negril Caribbean opened nine years ago, according to current owner Petrona Addison. It was opened by her son, Alan White, when he was stationed at Fort Riley. Addison moved from her home in New Jersey to take over the restaurant in 2012, when her son was PCS’d to Germany.
This wasn’t her first big move — she and her son left their home country of Jamaica in 1993 to move to America.
White, who had attended cooking school in his home country, opened Negril Caribbean largely because he wanted something to eat, his mother said.
There was no place in Junction City where he could find the dishes he’d grown up with — such as oxtail, sweet potato pudding, and jerk chicken.
Though Addison doesn’t have a cooking school degree, she has kept the restaurant open for the past five years since her son left Junction City. She learned to cook at home.
“I got five boys, so I had to cook,” Addison said with a laugh. “Even in America, I served them Jamaican food.”
The restaurant serves some items native Kansans might find more familiar — a sign outside the restaurant advertises food such as macaroni and cheese, wings and fries, corn bread, and collard greens along with more traditional Jamaican dishes.
Negril Caribbean has a daily lunch special of jerk chicken $7.00 — it usually costs about $8.50.
However, patrons will find everything comes with a Jamaican twist.
Negril Caribbean is a small, family-owned restaurant with a nice, family-owned feel.
“Everybody comes in here is family,” Addison said. “We make them feel special. They come, they sit, they talk. Sometimes they sit, we talk — we talk like we known each other for a long time.”
The restaurant is located at 127 West Seventh Street. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 7 p.m.