My Main Street-Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar
A Taste of the Island
Everything’s irie when it comes to Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar. We spoke to the owners for their inception story, the history of their native food and what it’s like to open their dream restaurant.
Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar storefront
Rohan Brown’s culinary experience started at the age of nine in his parents’ kitchen in Jamaica. Born and raised in the small town of Asia District in Manchester, he credits his deep love of cooking to his mother. “As the baby of 12 siblings, I trailed behind my mom and watched her every move. Seeing her cooking developed my passion,” he says. “I’ve now mastered the art of cooking authentic Jamaican dishes and have taken the leap into fulfilling my lifelong dream of sharing my culinary skills.”
The result of his dream is Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar, dubbed Vaughan’s most exciting, upscale Jamaican restaurant. “Our menu is full of traditional Jamaican favourites, mixed with modern and creative flavours,” says Brown, who’s not only the chef, but the co-owner with his wife, Kay. Open since summer 2019, the restaurant provides a welcoming atmosphere where customers from every background can experience an authentic taste of the island Rohan calls home. “I love the variety of flavours Jamaican cuisine offers,” he says, adding his favourite meal on the menu is fried chicken with rice and peas. (Kay’s selection is nearly the same, but she’s partial to the fried chicken with oxtail, rice and peas, with sides of macaroni and coleslaw.) “This food has a rich history, and the flavours are a melting pot of various cultures from around the world that have settled in Jamaica over the years. Cooking this food provides me with the satisfaction of sharing my rich culture with others.”
The Browns opened the business in Vaughan because of the lack of quality Jamaican cuisine in the area. “The city is growing tremendously, and we knew the proximity to Vaughan’s downtown core would be very promising. We also knew residents would appreciate our business model for having a more upscale Jamaican restaurant,” he says. The business has also benefitted greatly from participating in the city’s My Main Street program, which gave the Browns funds to implement a new point-of-sale and payment-processing system. “We’ve seen a significant uptake in our takeout and delivery orders, and we’ve streamlined the process to fill orders seamlessly and in a timely manner. Customers can also order directly from their table via a QR code, and it instantly gets entered for processing,” he says. Plus, they recently increased their signage and marketing initiatives, which has helped generate new customers.
Opening the restaurant seven months before the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Browns are proud of where they are today and have this advice for fellow entrepreneurs: “Have contingency plans in place for extreme events and find a mentor who can advise and help you throughout your journey.” The pair are looking to grow their brand and scale their business, all while introducing a major part of their culture to the community.
7887 Weston Road, unit 7, Vaughan
Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar dining room
Creole Jamaican Kitchen + Bar takeout counter