WACO, Texas – For the month of February, we celebrate achievements made by African-Americans. In Waco, there is one Jamaican restaurant which is changing the face of a neighborhood.
The quiet streets of East Waco are becoming a force of change – a breeding ground for new developments. This black-owned Caribbean restaurant is surely adding is its own spice to the neighborhood.
“We love to cook. I don’t think that’s the right thing to say. We love like to cook, but we love to eat,” says Aniceto Charles, Jr.
Lined with artistic remnants of the islands, this mother/son duo are adding their own flare to East Waco with TruJamaica.
“We like to see people enjoy food, and especially the food that we cook at home. So everything that we cook is first-hand,” says Aniceto.
For Jamaican native Vivia Charles, cooking was a trait passed down from her parents.
“Me and my siblings. That’s what we always talked about. Mommy cooked this, and remember when mommy cooked that,” says Vivia.
With her husband, the mother of three took her skills to the kitchen – setting up her own Jamaican carryout in Virginia. But after the death of patriarch Aniceto Charles, Sr., a Vietnam vet, the family sought after a new venture.
“We just got a bug, and we said, ‘Lets check out Waco,'” says Vivia.
African-Americans hold nearly 22 percent of Waco’s population. The Caribbean community has a much smaller amount. This presents a challenge.
“We knew that everyone would come and try it. And if we did a good job, we knew they would be back. And we figured if it happened once, it could happen again,” says Vivia.
This joint is a first to our area – featuring bonafide island dishes like curry goat and jerked chicken. This instantly took off on social media.
Kris collins/ waco chamber of commerce: “With TruJamaica, when you have two million people coming to Waco every year, you’re definitely going to see a desire for new types of restaurants, more eclectic restaurants coming in where we might not be able to support those restaurants five years ago,” says Kris Collins, of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.
As the business swells, so does their dreams.
“It’s just enlightening,” says Vivia.
“Maybe another restaurant downtown, who knows? The sky is the limit,” says Aniceto.
The family says despite the construction in the area, the major entrance to Interstate 35 is a blessing – as it brings in new business.
TruJamaica is located at 937 Taylor Street. It is open from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.