BOARDMAN, Ohio – It took a while, but Gaeton and Michael Thompson finally have a restaurant of their own.
The brothers, who are natives of Jamaica, opened Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine in July. It’s where they cook and serve the spicy comfort food of the island where they were born.
The aroma of the island fills the room. Guests can see and select their offerings from a steam table to create a combo platter. The proteins include oxtail, the house specialty; jerk chicken, the best seller; plus curry chicken, stew chicken, and jerk pork. Sides include cabbage, jerk macaroni and cheese, fried plantains, meat pies, rice and beans, white rice and other vegetables.
The humble but cheerful restaurant at 4150 Market St. in Youngstown is a reflection of Jamaica. Reggae music plays in the background of the colorful room, which includes a full-wall mural of a tropical scene.
Guests stream in for takeout during the lunch hour. There are also a few tables for those who prefer to dine in, and a high-top dining rail with stools runs the length of the front window.
The name Tebo, by the way, is what Gaeton went by in Jamaica.
The brothers, who speak with the unmistakable accent of Jamaica, came to the United States 30 years ago, when their mother moved to Cleveland. They learned how to cook from their mother, and landed jobs in restaurants while in high school.
The brothers continued to work in the restaurant industry and learned the ins and outs. Gaeton, who moved to Boardman 20 years ago, said he always wanted his own restaurant but “never had the courage” until now. The reaction from the public has been very positive. “It’s been a blessing,” he said.
Tebo’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed Sunday). In addition to the Thompson brothers, it employs 13.
Pictured: Rivaldo Cruz, Gaeton Thompson, Michael Thompson and Christine Duster celebrate the opening of Tebo’s Caribbean Cuisine.