s a young boy people called me
Born in Linstead, a market town in the Jamaican parish of Saint Catherine, Green lived in the US prior to moving to New Brunswick and then settling in Nova Scotia. He had a successful career in telecommunication sales before deciding to, as he says, “transfer the effort I was putting into making money for other people to myself.” As a serial entrepreneur, Green is not afraid of challenges or being told that he can’t do something—opening a Jamaican restaurant in Cole Harbour in the dead of winter, for instance.
“Everybody said that it couldn’t be done and that made me want to do it even more.”
Jamaica has an incredibly rich culture and its food, music and people are noteworthy ambassadors. Jamaica in itself is a brand. When he visited the travel agency that’s a stone’s throw away from the restaurant, Green noted there were no brochures about Jamaica. When he asked
“When people travel to Jamaica such an impression is made and until they visit again they try to relive that feeling and the memories,” says Green, and that’s where Jamaica Vibes comes in. “I don’t see this as just a restaurant, I see this as an important cultural hub for the Maritimes—a place for people from the Caribbean diaspora and people who just love the Caribbean to come and feel this is a safe space to be themselves.”
“The community has been offering great feedback in terms of product and service standards. One comment that I keep getting is that our prices are too low.” Green beams with pride when he describes the expressions on the faces of his guests as they tuck into one of his well-presented and spicy dishes. His busiest times are after-work and dinner hours.“I have to prepare jerk chicken and oxtail two to three times a day,” he proclaims. “We always sell out!” His background in sales and marketing becomes obvious when he speaks about the successful Valentine’s Day event that he hosted last week. The theme was Learn about Jamaica, and diners were awarded prizes when they could accurately answer questions about Jamaica or correctly translate words from Patois to English. It was a sold-out event.
When pressed to give an honest answer to why he would ever go into the restaurant business knowing just how volatile the industry can be, Green says, cooly: “The opportunity was there and I said to myself, ‘Well Dwayne, why not you?’”
Vaughn Stafford Gray is a Jamaican-born writer who has a storage locker solely dedicated to his collection of cookbooks and back issues of Monocle Magazine.