Carmel, Ind. - We continue rolling through Hamilton County this month for Your Town Friday. Today we're heading to Carmel, but you might think our first stop is in Jamaica!
Eldon Chuck can whip up Jamaican Patties like nobody's business.
Semi-retirement from the business world led him here.
"We decided that winters were not good golfing weather and we didn’t just want to take off, so we decided to open a small little restaurant because we couldn’t get the food here," said Chuck. "And we wanted to share that type of food culture with everyone else."
Jamaican Reggae Grill opened in Monon Square in Carmel in April 2015.
A lot of people ask Chuck his Jamaican connection.
"We do get that question a lot because people come in and they say, 'You don’t look Jamaican,' and I always ask them, 'Well what does a Jamaican look like?' It just so happens that our Coat of Arms says, 'Out of Many One People.' My grandmother is an African descent Jamaican and my grandfather is of Chinese descent. I graduated high school in Kingston and I came over here and went to college."
Some of his most popular dishes are Curried Goat, Jerk Chicken and Fried Plantains. In fact, the Curried Goat usually sells out quickly. It's a taste of the islands close to home.
"We make our own Jamaican beef patties here which are very tough to do. Most people buy frozen patties that are shipped from New York or Florida or Atlanta. I learned it from a Jamaican fellow who’s been making patties for about 40 years."
"We can see Carmel growing really fast in terms of structure. We can also see new foods coming in as well and we’re just a small part of that and we’re happy that’s happening."
Soho Cafe and Gallery is another mom and pop in Monon Square, popular with the locals. Jess Lawhead's family opened it seven years ago.
"Not only do we have traditional full-time artists that use the space, but we also offer art classes from time to time, and during the day it’s a full-time coffee shop," said Lawhead.
Lawhead's family moved to Carmel in the early 1950's. His grandfather was an original developer of Monon Square.
"Carmel in general is a great place to own and operate a business. It’s a great supporting community and then geographically this is right on the Monon. We have guys that come in first thing in the morning on their bikes that are commuting on the Monon downtown."
"The thing that we like is we have plenty of space to spread out and we have outlets available for people to plug in their laptops, so they’ll hang out all day. It's a real comforting place for people to come and enjoy themselves."
Be sure to join Lindy at 8:45 and 9:45 a.m. on FOX 59 Morning News Friday. She'll be reporting from Eggshell Bistro in Carmel, a place for fine brunch dining with recipes like Truffled Egg Brioche, a Coddled Egg Board and Moulard Rouge!