Berea, OH

If You're Looking for Jamaican Food in Greater Cleveland, You Should Check Out This Restaurant in Berea, Ohio

Isla Chiu

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At the end of 2021, the Campus Grille, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Berea, Ohio, permanently closed its doors.

Like many locals, I was sad to hear of its closing. I only got the chance to dine there once, but the meal I had was delicious. I was looking forward to trying more of their dishes, but alas, the Campus Grille became another casualty of these difficult times before I could.

Since then, the location has been replaced with another restaurant that serves Caribbean cuisine, albeit of a different kind. The restaurant is Gar & Mar, which serves Jamaican dishes.

The other day, I got the chance to have a late lunch at Gar & Mar.

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly employee, who promptly handed me a menu.

Because I was hungry, I opted for the large jerk chicken meal instead of the medium one. I also ordered a glass of homemade lemonade and coco bread.

Let me tell you, it was a delicious, more than satisfying meal that left me stuffed.

The jerk chicken meal came with rice and peas, steamed cabbage, and plantains. And for $2.50, I got a pretty sizable slab of coco bread.

First, I sipped the lemonade, which was a sweet, slightly tart, and refreshing beverage for the slightly hot late summer day.

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Second, I broke off a piece of the coco bread, which was soft and warm.

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Then third, I dug into my jerk chicken meal.

The rice and peas were great. The rice and red kidney beans were well-cooked and well-seasoned. I enjoyed the tender steamed cabbage as well. I love plantains, and Gar & Mar's plantains didn't disappoint (I just wish there were more of them!).

But of course, the star of my late lunch was the jerk chicken, which was packed with flavor. I'm a self-declared spice wimp, so I was surprised when I took a bite of the chicken and found it delicious but not very spicy.

However, the jerk chicken turned out to have the kind of heat that creeps up on you gradually. In a few minutes, my wimpy taste-buds were most certainly feeling the spice, and I was glad I'd ordered the coco bread, which helped me better manage the spicy (but tasty!) meat.

But despite the struggle, I wouldn't hesitate to order the jerk chicken again, and I would be down to try the jerk pork.

Hopefully, Gar & Mar stays open for many more years to come, and I'll have plenty of opportunities to try more of their dishes.

Gar & Mar is located at 10 Seminary St, Berea, OH 44017.

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I write about local eats in the Cleveland area and my struggles of trying to make it as a full-time writer.

Cleveland, OH
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