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New Caribbean Cuisine serves authentic Jamaican fare

Going into the fourth week of business at 4150 Market St., Gaeton Thompson said the community response has been “a blessing so far.” 

[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]

BOARDMAN — Gaeton and Michael Thompson, two brothers from Jamaica, opened Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine with a goal of bringing traditional Caribbean flavors to the Mahoning Valley. 

Going into the fourth week of business at 4150 Market St., Gaeton Thompson said the community response has been “a blessing so far.” 

The Thompson family moved to the United States from Jamaica 30 years ago, and Gaeton and Michael have been in the restaurant business since arriving. Gaeton Thompson said he and his brother always wanted to open their own restaurant. 

“I’ve been in Boardman here for 20 years. I always wanted to do it but never thought I would have the support that I did. So it’s been wonderful,” he said. 

“The idea was always there ever since [my family] moved us to the states,” he added. “Why not now?” 

Although the brothers co-own Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine, Michael lives in Cleveland and Gaeton lives locally, so Gaeton handles the daily restaurant tasks. 

When the business is established, they will both come on full time, Gaeton said. 

The recipes for Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine combine the techniques Gaeton and Michael learned in both their mother’s kitchen in Jamaica and professional kitchens in the United States. 

“[My mother] taught every one of us how to cook. She said, ‘There's two things you must do — you must eat and you must go to bed and sleep,’” Gaeton said. “All of us, from a little kid, we learned how to cook [by watching her]” 

“Growing up, we learned marination. … In America, everything is about speed. So we combine both,” he added. “Every day before we leave here we get the following day ready. We marinate all of our meat overnight for the next day.” 

Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine’s entrees come in either Caribbean style, which includes a protein option with rice and beans, cabbage and plantains, or build-your-own, which includes a protein option, rice, choice of toppings and house-made salsas. Customers can choose a small or large portion of each entree. 

“The jerk chicken and the oxtail are the two most popular right now. We have curry chicken, brown stewed chicken. We’ve got jerk pork. We’ve got stewed beef, which is awesome,” he said. 

In addition to its Jamaican flavors, the inside of Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine restaurant showcases vibrant colors, touches of bamboo and a tropical beach mural to give the restaurant a true Caribbean theme. 

According to Gaeton, the goal for Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine is to expand in the next few years. 

“It’s a family restaurant so, you know, my kids and my wife [are] all the inspiration that I need because they want me to go forward. They’re behind me 100 percent,” he said. 

“Maybe in a year or so we open the second one because for both me and my brother, we need to be able to take care of family. So that's one of the reasons why we said we're waiting until we see how things go,” he added. 

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