For the last three years or so, we have watched three, well intentioned entrepreneurs attempt to resurrect the former Pizza Inn location on South Main with three separate restaurant concepts – one of which the name escapes me, Billy Blue Marlins, and Wise Guys Pizza. Each put money and a lot of effort into it, only to come up empty.
Here comes attempt number four, and call me a glutton for punishment, but I am sincerely optimistic about their chances of establishing a successful restaurant in this once vaulted location.
JaMan Caribbean Café is being opened by Stephen and Sally Minton, restaurant veterans with a combined 50 years of experience in the restaurant industry.
Former owners of the JaMan Caribbean Café in Boone, North Carolina, the Mintons sold the restaurant when the family relocated to Statesboro so that Stephen Minton could be a chef instructor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Georgia Southern.
Minton said it really wasn’t his idea to open another JaMan Caribbean Café.
“Since we sold, one very, loyal fan has asked us repeatedly to open another JaMan so that she could invest in it,” Minton said. “This opportunity was really too good to pass up in that it just didn’t take a lot to make the facility into what we wanted it to be.”
Minton said he will not be running the day-to-day operations or the kitchen. That will be the job of his wife and a kitchen manager that the two have secured.
“My wife, Sally, really wanted to do this, and I said fine with me, but it will be her baby day-to-day,” he said.
When you talk with Minton about JaMan Caribbean Cafe, he seems very calm and matter-of-fact about opening a restaurant on top of his other responsibilities.
“We are using a menu that proved itself over and over again in our restaurant in Boone,” he said. “We enjoyed a lot of success there. I think mainly it will be a matter of executing that same concept and service again.”
A few of the restaurant’s menu items include conch fritters, jerk pork, jerk chicken, Cuban black beans served with coconut rice, fried plantains, Key West coleslaw, and Jamaican fried calamari.. And a drum roll please, potato chips cooked to order. For those of you that don’t like venturing out on the food ladder quite that far, there will be hamburgers and varieties of chicken sandwiches to name a few of the other items on the menu. There will also be several different beers on tap being served through a European style tap system, and fourteen different wines served by the glass.
Minton said he and his wife want this to be a comfortable restaurant serving comfort food – similar to a neighborhood tavern.
“The term for our type of restaurant is a ‘gastro-pub’,” he said. “Great food and great drink in a very comfortable, laid back atmosphere.”
If preparations continue on schedule, the JaMan Caribbean Café should open in November.
In the spirit of this column’s island theme, until next week – No worries, man.Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at email@example.com