Opa-locka is known for its Caribbean influences: Bahamian, Jamaican, and Haitian cultures can be spotted everywhere throughout the city. There is a plethora of restaurants that serve delicious Caribbean food, including a main staple called “conch.” A seafood, conch is served in as many forms as you can imagine. It's fried, boiled, chilled, and even in a salad. Another common dish is rice and peas. A few other selections included curry chicken, curry goat, ox tails, and my new favorite, jerk chicken.
Across the street from the OLCDC headquarters is a small strip of thrift stores. Rather small and nondescript store fronts littered with old furniture and clothes. The last one on the strip is home to a Jamaican restaurant called “Family Catering.” From the outside, it is hard to decipher if it’s another thrift store or if it’s something entirely different. This family owned restaurant prepares the food each morning and when it runs out, they close for the day. I tend to prefer places like this; you can tell that every item is made with care. Some days jerk chicken may be on the menu and other days it may not. The family matriarch who doubles as the head chef changes the menu daily.
This place is a gem. It is precisely what we are looking to do inside the Triangle — to support and help start new small, cottage industries — with a local clientele and a dedication to producing a small-scale good. Many people have culinary skills, but how many have the entrepreneurial drive to open their own business? If we can find residents with similar characteristics as this family-owned Jamaican restaurant, I am almost certain that the project will be a success.
-- Germane Barnes