The Jamaican Grille was formed by Eldon (Jason) Loblein of Belfast, with help from Ricardo Benjamin (Long Bay, Jamaica), Tim Wry (Wry Design, Belfast), and Anthony Jacovino (Delvino’s, Belfast). The inspiration for the restaurant was born out of Jason’s experience growing up in Rose Garden, Long Bay, Jamaica.
Long Bay is located on the quiet, eastern end of the island, home to native villagers and few tourists. It’s also a short drive away from the rumored birthplace of jerk chicken, Boston Bay. In and around this area, the scent of food over an open fire is ever-present in the air, and the flavors they carry are loud and bold.
It’s easy to fall for this type of cooking, especially for a child at the age of 5. Rick was Jason’s neighbor at the time and helped his grandfather to make jerk seasoning using ingredients from the nearby mountains. As a member of the community, neighbors become like family, and culture and cooking become naturally absorbed.
Years later, back in his hometown, and longing for the flavors of his childhood, Jason set up shop, with a single grill and a modest menu: Jerk chicken cooked over charcoal. That was 2002. And by 2004, the business was in full swing, with help from close friends Tim and Anthony. The kitchen was now mobile, contained in a 1959 International milk truck capable of catering to massive crowds. The truck toured the summer fairs in Maine, and delivered catering to lakeside music festivals and wedding anniversaries lasting long into the night.
The business flourished until 2007 when the Grille finally closed to give management the freedom to travel and pursue new interests. Tim would later establish Wry Design, a custom cabinet and furniture company, and Anthony would open Delvino’s, a classy Italian eatery on Main Street.
14 years passed, and the Jamaican Grille gradually faded from memory. But not completely; the long sleep provided time to imagine and dream of an eventual return...
The Jamaican Grille was reimagined in 2021, again thanks to the backing and support of close friends and family. True to its place of origin, raw ingredients are shipped directly from Rose Garden by Ricardo Benjamin to create authentic jerk seasoning here in Belfast. Every item is made fresh in-house, with authentic flavors that pay respect to the country and people from which they originate.
37 Front Street, Belfast, Maine 04915, United States