Tasty Tuesday: Reggae Grub brings authentic Jamaican cuisine to Roanoke’s downtown

Everything from oxtail to jerk chicken is made with authentic Jamaican recipes at Reggae Grub

ROANOKE, Va. – When it comes to downtown Roanoke, you know you’re going to get a wide variety of food.

Reggae Grub is doing just that with its authentic Jamaican flare.

“Cooking is an art, and I’m an artist.”

Kevin Brown has been teaching for years, but recently decided to follow his passion. That passion was Reggae Grub - open now in Roanoke’s iconic City Market Building.

He says it’s not about the money, and that the passion will one day lead to profit.

“Right now, we are operating based on enjoying ourselves and pleasing customers. Once you do that, eventually you are going to get to the point of profit.”

From his hands to your tastebuds, Brown is offering up several authentic Jamaican meals.

“Most of them are from when I was small – cooking with my mother and grandmother. We just cook it as it is – as it should be.”

What does it mean to be authentic, or to cook Jamaican food as it should be? He tells us it’s about three key steps.

“Preseasoning, marinating, and coming in and cooking for hours.”

That’s how you get the tenderness and the flavor behind popular dishes like the oxtail, the jerk chicken and what he made for us when we popped by.

“Escovitch fish with red beans, rice and veggies and some curry chicken.”

You can have all the fresh ingredients in the world, but Brown says the one that matters most is the one that comes from within.

“Not just the spice. You’ve got to put your heart in it.”

There’s more to come from Reggae Grub, including seafood like swordfish, fresh veggies, beef stew, fried dumpling and so much more.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.