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Homemade cuisine at Roy’s Caribbean

March 30, 2015

by Cheyenne Birmingham

The aroma of Jamaican cooking and the atmosphere of the island is evident as soon as the doors open at Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant.  The smell of authentic  jerk chicken and oxtail fill a customer’s senses when he or she walks inside. Guests at the Quail Street eatery are regularly greeted with a bright smile and a friendly recommendation on the special of the day.

Roy Vincent, owner of Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant, first moved to Albany in 1982 from Jamaica.  His love for Jamaica’s cuisine and culture inspired him to open a restaurant where he could pass on traditions to his family and the public. Vincent saw an opportunity and he took a hold of it.

Before he opened his Pine Hills location, Vincent started his quest back in 1990, just a few miles away.

“I was walking past the place on Henry Johnson Boulevard, called and got the place not long after I called,” Vincent said. Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant has been in operation now for 25 years.

Roy Vincent/Cheyenne Birmingham

Roy Vincent/Cheyenne Birmingham

Vincent wanted a legacy for his grandchildren, who helped him at the restaurant before they went off to college.  He taught them how to properly run the business with respect, integrity and compassion.  He encourages friendly conversations and shows genuine concern for his customers, expressing interest in their day and how they prefer their food prepared.

“I always wanted to open a family business to be able to pass it down to my kids.  It all came together; the place was in a good area.  It was right on the Boulevard, I knew it would catch people’s eye,” said Roy.  Family is very important to the Jamaican culture, having the family economically and emotionally secure is what matters most.

The Quail Street store is surrounded by college students  and working people who want a homemade meal and Roy’s offers just that.  Whether customers have a car or  walk, it’s accessible.

“It’s the closest thing to good home-cooked food, and the prices are inexpensive enough for me to buy a few dishes,” said Kadesha Taylor Morgan, who was in the restaurant with her friend Francis Agyemang buying one of Roy’s most popular dishes – oxtails. The dishes such as jerk chicken and oxtail cost from $9 to $13, for ample portions.

That’s not the only reason, though, his return customers.

“I come back because of the taste of the food, the oxtail here happens to be one of the best dishes I’ve tasted,” said Agyemang.

Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant- Quail Street/ Cheyenne Birmingham

Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant- Quail Street/ Cheyenne Birmingham

Either Roy or his close friend Matthew Johnson greet customers as soon they walk through the restaurant.  Johnson has been working with Vincent for a year and is learning the ropes of the business.

“I enjoy working at the restaurant, I plan on taking over the business after Roy retires,” said Johnson.  He cooks, works the register and assists the customers with whatever they need at the moment.  “I mostly cook all the dishes, but I have to say I love cooking jerk chicken because I cook it the most.” said Johnson.

Vincent does not plan on opening anymore restaurants, he said the two he has now are more than sufficient.

“I hope to continue to bring authentic Jamaican food and traditions to people,” Vincent said.  “The convenience of the area and college students will keep us around for a long time.” -30-

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