Hometown Eats: Reggae Grub

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:21 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many One People’ and there’s a new spot in downtown Roanoke with many spices and flavors and one word to describe it, delicious. We’re getting a taste of Jamaica at Reggae Grub in this week’s Hometown Eats!

“The love, you gotta cook it with love, man. If you’re not cooking it with love, it’s not going to taste good,” said Reggae Grub owner Kevin Brown.

Love, bright colors, and an island full of flavor. At Reggae Grub, inside the Roanoke City Market Building in downtown Roanoke, it’s simple, eat good, feel great.

“People love the food, that different type of food, ya know, that natural home cooked food,” said Brown

Owner Kevin Brown came to America 12 years ago with that goal in mind. He’s been in a kitchen since he was tall enough to reach the stove top and received his training from the best.

“I’ve been cooking since I was small, coming from school and cooking for the whole family. On Sundays when my mother cooked, she’d call me to taste the food and check it. My mom and I, we cooked together. My grandmother and I, we cooked together,” explained Brown.

They taught him the fundamentals of Jamaican cuisine, cooking with spices.

“We cook from the earth, so we use the natural blend of seasoning – onion, garlic, pimento – that’s how we prepare food in Jamaica, and I bring the same concept here and those things are pretty much good for anybody,” said Brown.

A taste that quickly drew positive reviews from customers.

“Every day I get to meet somebody different, somebody very sweet to us,” Brown said proudly.

Those interactions, Brown says, make the 4am wake up call worth it because you’ll never find a reheated dish, this menu is made fresh daily.

“We have jerk chicken, curry chicken, brown stew chicken, the famous oxtail, curry goat, and then we have red bean and rice which is a tradition in the Caribbean and Jamaica, white rice, fried plantains our Reggae medley with broccoli, we make everything colorful, potato salad, and cabbage,” listed Brown.

It’s not just Kevin who knows his way around the kitchen, his wife Terry is an expert when it comes to banana bread.

“My wife is a great cook also and she is from Jamaica. She is the one who has been doing the formula for the banana bread, great banana bread,” said Brown.

Brown has plans to offer even more traditional dishes, but for now he wants to build the customer base. Once that happens, he’s bringing the island to the Star City.

“The future goal of the restaurant is to have Reggae music and dancing so we’re trying to bring in the future, the entire Caribbean Island here, that whole vibe,” said Brown.

With Jamaican heroes and beautiful beaches as his decor, Brown uses the food as his paint and your plate as his canvas.

“I’m an artist and food is art. I love art, I love food, I love cooking food. If you don’t love it, you’re not going to get up at 4am every morning and do it,” said brown.

Reggae Grub, a hometown eat Jamaican taste buds dance to the flavors of the island!

Reggae Grub can be found inside the Roanoke City Market Building in downtown Roanoke at 32 Market Square SE Unit 127, Roanoke, VA 24011.