So Nice, He Named It Twice!
For the past four years, David Luckain and his Jamaica Jamaica Island Cuisine restaurant have been serving the most authentic Jamaican food in Tampa.
“What makes us different is that we are so passionate about Jamaican food. I’m so confident in the authenticity of our food, so much so that if you’re a first-time visitor, we’ll actually have you taste the food before you buy,” says David.
David, married, dad of two, granddad of one, is the proud owner of Jamaica Jamaica Island Cuisine. He was born in Jamaica but has made Tampa his home for the last 20 years. He is a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is also a big soccer fan and plays in the league. He produces Reggae music too.
David, a small business owner who wants to bring Jamaica’s real essence to the Tampanians, is a true Local Hero. He employs nine other people. The level of dedication and hard-working attitude of independent restaurant owners like David are the building blocks of Tampa’s economy.
David with His Staff Member
We sat down with David for a rapid-fire session –
1. Why do you do what you do?
“When I moved to Tampa 20 years ago, I had to drive 30-45 mins to find Jamaican food. Even though, in essence, it was Jamaican food, it wasn’t great Jamaican food. So I’ve always felt we need authentic Jamaican food here in Tampa. Even during these unprecedented times, one of the reasons that keep me going is those smiles that I get to see on peoples’ faces after tasting my food. That’s priceless! There is no greater award than seeing someone’s expression after they taste something you have created.”
2. Were you working before entering the restaurant industry?
“I was in health care. I was an MRI technologist for 20 years. One day I saw an eviction sign close to my home. I called that number and asked if I could get that restaurant for rent. And six months later, I left MRI.”
3. If you could share one tip that will help our readers looking for a Jamaican restaurant, what would it be?
“Make sure it’s authentic! Most of the Jamaican restaurants here in America try fusion food. I’ve even had people who have visited Jamaica come to my restaurant and tell me our food tastes better than the food they had in Jamaica. It might sound crazy, but I fly to Jamaica to get my spices and bring them here.”
4. What do you like about Tampa?
“One, it’s warm. Two, I like the balance of the city, and it is very cultured. It sounds like a little city for outsiders, but for insiders, it is a big city. Where I’m located, if you go fifteen minutes North, you’re in the woods. You could hunt. Fifteen minutes West, you’re at the beach. Fifteen minutes South, you’re in the suburbs. It cannot be any better than that! It is an awesome place.”
5. Do you provide any special discounts to military folks?
“Yes, we offer a 15% discount to military folks. In general, we have a welcoming type of environment here, and we don’t argue about discounts. We want to make sure that when you leave, you’re satisfied. Even if you have no money, you can come in. You won’t leave hungry. I’ve had people forget their wallets, and they’re about to go back home. And I’m like, no. Get your food, and when you come back next time, you pay.”
Since the inception of Jamaica Jamaica, David has supported ‘Friends of Joshua House Foundation,’ a safe haven for the abused, neglected and abandoned children in the Tampa Bay area. He and four of his friends would have an event called ‘Bow ties and Clutches’ every December, and the proceeds are donated to these less fortunate kids. He supports few local churches too.
There are some great reviews for Jamaica Jamaica on the internet, and they have an aggregate of 4.5 stars on both Yelp and Google.
One of the reviewers said:
“So good!! We loved the Ox Tail, Snapper, Curried Goat, beef Patty, and Jerk Chicken!!! The cabbage was so good too. We will be back!!! Thank you!! Plus, the service was great!”
Here is another one:
“Just moving down here from Brooklyn, NY, I was praying that I find good authentic Jamaican food!! God answered my prayers!! This restaurant is very, Very, VERY GOOD! I found my spot.”
For those of you who are looking for that home-made and authentic Jamaican taste, look no further. David and his team should be your first choice. They also have a food truck. So if you need them to cater to any events, call David at 813-243-1569 or click here to visit their listing. You’ll be glad you did!