Authentic Jamaican cuisine is coming to Alamo Plaza – The Vacaville Reporter
Home to hundreds of restaurants, Vacaville has something to satisfy just about any cuisine: Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Mediterranean, Filipino… the list goes on.
Until recently, one type of cuisine had long been absent from the usual Vacaville cuisine: Jamaican.
In 2016, Chantoll Williams established her restaurant business Mama Rasta’s Kitchen to bring Caribbean flavors to Vacaville, and now the kitchen has its own brick and mortar restaurant in the form of Jamrock Island Cuisine on the Alamo Plaza. Founded by Devon Miller and Petrick Green-Miller, Jamrock opened on December 16 and since then guests have been treated to authentic Jamaican cuisine.
Although this is the couple’s first time owning a restaurant, they are both familiar with Jamaican cuisine. Both were born and raised on the island, and Miller has been a chef for 22 years. It was in fact while working as a chef in Kingston in 2003 that he met Green-Miller.
“It has always been her dream,” she said.
In 2005, Green-Miller moved to northern California to work at Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo at a time when there was a shortage of nurses.
“I came because of a recruitment,” she said. “They were short of nurses, so I was recruited by a company.”
Green-Miller was then hired full time at Sutter and Miller moved to California to join her. They bought a house in Vacaville and have since raised twin daughters.
Since moving to Vacaville, the Millers have planned to open a restaurant, and Green-Miller said it has been a difficult process.
“It’s been probably a nine-year process for us,” she said. “Building the business plan was a challenge, especially financially, but we got small business support and input to develop it. Without that we couldn’t find housing to rent or whatever because the landlords and the banks would want to see what your business plan was.
However, Jamrock finally has a home in the Alamo Plaza, sandwiched between Burrito Express and Rose Garden. Green-Miller said the most popular item is jerk chicken, in which the meat is dry rubbed with a mixture of hot spices and slowly cooked to give it a smoky flavor. Other dishes include curried goat cheese, oxtail, brown stewed chicken, and curried chicken patties. There are also a variety of vegetarian options including sweet and sour tofu, lentil dumplings and spinach patties, as well as a variety of side dishes including macaroni and cheese, sweet potato salad, rice and peas and steamed vegetables. Even the drinks have tropical flavors such as mango, pineapple, guava, and coconut water.
Green-Miller said business was slow, but she attributes that to the holiday season and COVID-19 and expects patronage to resume around February. So far, she said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I had a lot of good feedback,” she says. “People love the flavor and the taste, and they love it to be different. There is no Jamaican place in Vacaville, so people are delighted that they can come and taste a bit of Jamaica here.
Green-Miller said she hopes to have a grand opening in early 2021. She is waiting to see if the county changes its guidelines for alfresco dining. Jamrock is currently open for take out and customers can plan to have their meals in advance through its website. Green-Miller said she is also looking to make meals available for delivery through DoorDash.
“I want to see how these processes go first and make sure the team is formed and can do it really well before we do the grand opening,” she said.
Green-Miller has said she hopes Jamrock can bring a variety of things to Vacaville.
“I hope to provide authentic Jamaican cuisine,” she said. “We are a counter service, which allows us to deliver something authentic, offer great customer service and be very efficient in terms of turnaround time. People can order their lunch, say what time they want it (and) pick it up.
Jamrock is located at 900 Alamo Drive. Its current hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and closed on Saturday.
For more information, visit Jamrockisland.com or call the restaurant at 342-5674.