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Here are a some Reasons Why Central Floridians LOVE Our Caribbean Food

Here are a Few Reasons Why Central Floridians LOVE Our Caribbean Food

“Every time I have visited Mark’s, I have experienced exceptional service. The food is always freshly cooked, and hot when served. Mark makes sure that patrons are attended to, and is always friendly. The patties are baked fresh, there is a wide variety of Caribbean cuisine on the menu. 5 out of 5!”

“Mark’s is the Best!!! I placed an order 15min. before they were closing and they took my order and had it ready 15 min. after they were closing. I appreciate the fact that they took the time out to take my order and let me pick it up even though they were closing for the night. Love U Mark’s You’re The Best!!”

“ORLANDO Sentinel FOOD CRITIC: When the same old burgers and fries just won’t do, Mark’s offers bold, gratifying flavors of authentically prepared Caribbean cuisine. Enjoy such delectable fare as ox tail, curry goat, sausage, chicken, lamb and dumplings. And then top off your meal with a frosty beer or smooth glass of wine.”

 

From the Ninth Edition dated January 29, 2014 of the Black Consciousness Newspaper from UCF

Di Real Ting

Black Business and the Guy Behind the Grub

Sweet plantains, flaky Jamaican patties and hot, delicious curry.  If you love Caribbean food, you have probably been to (or at least heard of) Mark Caribbean Cuisine.  Right on University Boulevard lies a jewel in the rough, a restaurant where you can indulge in the aforementioned dishes and so much more without breaking the bank.  The owner Mark Jathan hails from Paul Island, Westmoreland, Jamaica and moved to the United States permanently in 1987.  In 1989 he decided to relocate to sunny Florida from New York.  Back in Jamaica, Mark always loved cooking and writing recipes.  This Black entrepreneur’s dream was to provide  a place where Orlando students could get an inexpensive, healthy meal; so he opened up Mark’s Caribbean Cuisine in 2006.

Mark is a solid supporter of Black business, and he does his part to help it flourish by buying directly from Black vendors whenever he can.  As far as challenges go, he shared that Orlando is generally a tough place to market Caribbean fare, noting that, “This side of town does not have great demographics for Caribbean cuisine.”  In terms of Black businesses specifically, banks are not keen on lending the money Black entrepreneurs seek in order to jump start their ventures.   Oftentimes, Black business people have to do it on their own, but Mark offered these words of inspiration: “It is a lot of hard work, but perseverance is the key.  There will be a lot of challenges.  Just stick with it will pay off.”

This man truly does his best to support and give back to our community in more ways than one.  Many of his employees are students of Valencia College and our own University of Central Florida.  Mark’s Caribbean Cuisine also offers a $2.99 lunch special for students.  That’s a terrific deal by any standard, but it is a godsend for college students, who sometimes do not have the means to get hot, healthy and scrumptious meals.  When it comes to his charitable endeavors, Mark donates to local food pantries and feeds the homeless.  He has even used his facilities as a drop-off point for nonperishable donations as a part Haiti earthquake and Jamaica hurricane relief efforts.

Whether you are Caribbean, African or a Black American, you must realize that this country was not made to support the success of our people.  Therefore, we must support each other if we are to prosper as a whole.  Mark Jathan has done that in an exemplary way.  He certainly is di real ting!

Kendall Josey

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