Reggae Pot Jamaican Grill is at 7562 S. University Blvd. in Centennial. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Tamara Nisbeth has seen the power of recommendations, referrals and reviews firsthand.
Folks come in from the airport, luggage still in the car, and stop at her restaurant on their way to their final Colorado destination — all because of what they’ve read online about her place, the owner of Reggae Pot Jamaican Grill told Colorado Community Media. People generate interest by sharing their experiences on neighborhood social media pages. New customers come hoping to give her a hug after hearing about her and her restaurant from friends.
“The community here is ridiculously nice,” Nisbeth said. “I was so shocked with the welcome that we got.”
Reggae Pot got its start in Colorado Springs in 2015, but began the hunt for a new location in 2020. Nisbeth looked in Aurora and Denver but ultimately found the availability and affordability she was looking for in Centennial. The fast-casual restaurant opened near the intersection of South University Boulevard and East Dry Creek Road in May 2021.
Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Nisbeth grew up helping her grandmother, who cooked for parties and events in their community. After completing her formal education in the culinary arts in 1999, Nisbeth used her talent at the Sandals Royal Caribbean resort, Breakers Palm Beach hotel and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs before opening her own business.
Now she and her staff offer authentic Jamaican cuisine to Coloradans in a colorful, casual, music-rich setting.
In addition to jerk chicken, pork and shrimp, the 1,400-square-foot spot serves up several other traditional favorites. One popular dish is oxtail, cooked slowly in a brown sauce with butter beans, carrots and potatoes. The menu also features curry goat, a staple at Jamaican celebrations and get-togethers; beef patties, which are meat-filled pastries similar to empanadas; and ackee and saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish.
“A lot of people who learn about it and know that that’s our national dish, they’ll just come in to try that,” Nisbeth said.
Some people discover Reggae Pot during the summer festival season. The restaurant has provided food at Denver’s Juneteenth Festival, KUVO Jazz’s Live at the Vineyard fundraiser and other public events. It’s not uncommon for the Reggae Pot crew to see a rush of new customers in the days after a festival weekend, Nisbeth said.
But ultimately, she thinks she gets the biggest boost from satisfied customers letting others know about Reggae Pot’s food and service.
“Word of mouth,” Nisbeth said. “People writing a review, saying how much they enjoyed the food, is what helps.”
And though no one wants a bad review, Nisbeth is open to feedback because it gives Reggae Pot the opportunity to improve.
“If nobody criticizes, you’ll think that everything you’re doing is fine all the time when really it’s not,” Nisbeth said.
In order to create flavors of her homeland, Nisbeth has a handful of hard-to-find-in-Colorado items shipped in from afar including jerk spices, pimentos and ackee fruit. The restaurant was issued a liquor license earlier this year and now serves Jamaican favorites like Magnum Tonic Wine, rum punch, and Red Stripe and Dragon Stout beer in addition to non-alcoholic sodas from the island to round out customers’ meals.
“Coming to Reggae Pot, they will have the full authentic Jamaican experience,” Nisbeth said of her customers. “We do put a lot of love into our food.”
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