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Get the Jamaican experience in Suffolk

Diners are flocking to a new Suffolk restaurant that provides an authentic experience of Jamaican cuisine and culture.

Brothers Locksley, Lesmoore and Lloyd Jones opened A Taste of Jamaica on June 16 at 1024 Centerbrooke Lane in the Shops at Centerbrooke Village shopping center. The trio — along with sisters, wives and children — were met with a packed crowd on opening night that kept them cooking until 10 p.m.

“We were bombarded that day,” Locksley said. “It was crazy.”

The menu features familiar Jamaican recipes such as jerk or curry chicken served with rice, peas, fried plantains or cabbage with steamed carrots. Diners have come to love the spiced curry that packs a bit of heat paired with succulent chicken or goat.

“There’s nothing like curry,” said Norfolk resident Linda Thomas. She said she comes by at least twice a week for the curry or jerk chicken, and has “never had it not be excellent.”

Lunch and dinner specials include red snapper fish that can be prepared Jamaican escovitch — fried and served with pepper seasoning — or sautéed in brown stew sauce. Oxtails have become popular for diners looking for exotic options for their curry needs.

“We try to keep the food authentic for that real Jamaican taste,” Lesmoore said.

That authenticity extends to the restaurant’s atmosphere. Walls painted in warm colors, reggae music humming a steady beat and soft lighting keep diners relaxed and comfortable as they experience the flavors.

“It’s a real laid-back, quiet place, and they’ve got good music,” said J.D. Boone, of Gates County, N.C., as he enjoyed his meal with Andrea Clark.

Locksley said the best word to describe this atmosphere was “irie,” which in Jamaican Creole means “good” or “pleasing.”

“It brings out the natural you in a relaxing way,” he said.

A Taste of Jamaica is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 922-8222 or visit atasteofjamaicallc.com for more information.