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Monday, February 6, 2023

Dishing Up Caribbean Goodness is a Family Affair

Sometimes the path to entrepreneurship is not always a straight one. Kamica Moore—owner of KM Island Cuisine, LLC—located at 110 West 25th St. in Baltimore, Maryland knows that the right timing can lead to the highest reward. The Anne Arundel County resident knows that conversation over a flavorful plate of Jamaican food never goes out of style. Appreciation for her customers leads her to offer them the best she can daily.

“No matter how I might be feeling down and out, love for my customers drives me to put out the extra effort to see that smile on their faces. Serving delicious food to happy customers is our motto,” Moore said.

Moore has roots in the United States and Jamaica. Although she has lived in the United States for 18 years, the tradition of entrepreneurship and cooking was handed down to her from her mother, Elsa “Sue” Reid. Moore has been cooking since she was 11 years old.

“I always love cooking because my mom owned a restaurant, so when I was growing up, I grew up in a household where my mom and aunts were chefs and she owned her own restaurants as well,” Moore said.

Before Moore tried her hand at the restaurant business, she worked in healthcare for 21 years. Her journey included working as a nurse. 

“Everywhere I worked as a manager or director, they always asked me to cook because one time I cooked some food, and everyone loved the food. So, I used to cook at my job and take food for them once a month. And they always told me ‘You have to open your restaurant,’” Moore said. “However, I’m very passionate about helping people so I stayed in healthcare for a long time. I lost my job just when COVID started in the healthcare field.”

Oxtails with rice and peas and plantains is one dish offered by the restaurant. 

Courtesy photos

Moore explained that she cooked at home for former coworkers and doctors. Sometimes she cooked free of charge for them during the pandemic. It was her way of donating her time to support people who worked 15-18 hours a day. 

She ultimately decided to open KM Island Cuisine in Baltimore back in July of 2022 because she spent so many years working in the healthcare field in Charm City. Many customers currently find out about Island Cuisine through word of mouth. Oher stumble across her tick tock videos or social media posts.

Seafood, burgers, pasta and shrimp dishes can be found on the menu although Caribbean food such as jerk chicken, oxtail, curry chicken, brown stew chicken, rice and beans, plantains, steamed cabbage, and various Jamaican dishes are among the restaurant’s specialties. 

Moore provides catering services, and she can accommodate 25 people in a seating area with a waterfall that is located inside of the establishment.

But Moore’s journey has included different family members, including her husband, Rohan Moore. He recently resigned from his job to help his wife with her dream of owning a restaurant. A cousin lends a hand periodically, too. Jahmoy Bartley, 19, is Moore’s son who works as Island Cuisine’s cashier. The sophomore at Bowie State is majoring in finance. Participating in the family business is teaching him real life skills.

“What I really learned is kindness and communication goes a far way because some days you might have busy days or slow days, but you’ll need a lot of like determination and kind of have like an unparalleled push to keep going,” Bartley said.

He noted that his mother finds the will to get up early even when he believes that she does not want to do it. Bartley further commented that customers who patronize his mother’s restaurant have remarked about her top tier customer service and display of kindness, even in cases where a customer provides feedback about something they did not like.

Gaining experience in the family, entrepreneurial setting is humbling for Bartley.

“It just shows me what it takes to grow and be an entrepreneur in the world,” he said.

Although Moore wants her business to thrive, she retains the compassion of a nurse at heart, even when she takes her nightly journey after packing meals in containers to distribute on Martin Luther King while feeding the homeless. She enjoys brightening the lives of the less fortunate and paying customers. 

“It’s not just about money for me. I enjoy putting a smile on people’s faces,” Moore said.

Visit https://www.kmislandcuisine.com/  for more information.

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