North Side Restaurant Offers a Taste of the Caribbean

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The sign painted over the dining room at Dalia’s reads “Welcome to the Carribean.”

It’s a warm welcome for guests at the new restaurant, which specializes in the cuisine of Jamaica and the West Indies.

Dalia’s Caribbean Kitchen opened Wednesday at 822 Elm St., between Youngstown State University and Wick Park. It’s owned by Dalia Edwards, who has been cooking the food of her heritage since she was a young girl.

The menu features the staples of Jamaican cuisine, including escovitch fish ($18), red snapper ($18), curry shrimp ($15/$18), jerk chicken ($12, $15), brown chicken stew ($12, $15), oxtail ($20), plus wraps, steamed cabbage, fried plantains, peas and rice, macaroni and cheese, soup, cole slaw, and vegan options.

All entrees are served over rice and peas, or rice, with sides of fried plaintains and steamed cabbage.

Dalia's Caribbean Kitchen, Youngstown
Jim Converse of Common Wealth Inc., the community development group; Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown; Donald Edwards; his wife, Dalia Edwards; and Camella Williams, director of the Youngstown Microentrerprise Grant program.

Edwards is a native of Panama. Her maternal grandparents were from Jamaica, and it is that country’s culinary culture that influenced her the most. Her father’s family was from Barbados.

Edwards moved to New York City when she was 23, and lived there for 23 years.

Cooking was always her passion, and it only grew after she left her homeland.

“Food is something I use to express love,” said Edwards, who still has a Caribbean accent. “I had been doing it since I was 15. I would cook for my classmates back in my country. Then, when I came [to the United States], I studied ministry and after church I would make a meal for everyone.”

Edwards had also worked as a cook for food vendors. Dalia’s Caribbean Kitchen is  the first restaurant she has owned.

In preparation for its opening, she sold her food to-go for two months from a trailer parked in back of her restaurant.

Dalia’s is on the first floor of a restored house that features the ornate woodwork that graces many old Youngstown homes.

It has seating for a couple dozen diners.

The building is owned by Common Wealth Inc., the nonprofit agency that helps local entrepreneurs open restaurants, shops and food companies. It previously housed Rev’s Ribs.

Edwards’ journey to Youngstown is an interesting one. She and her husband moved to the city in 2016 with nothing more than a gut feeling that it was the right place to go.

“One day I was resting and I heard a voice telling me to go to Youngstown,” she said. Edwards had no knowledge of the city and knew no one there. She didn’t even know where it was.

“My husband is a truck driver so I asked him, ‘Where is Youngstown?’,” she said.

A short while later, they moved here.

Dalia’s Caribbean Kitchen is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Its phone number is 347 623 3059.

Pictured: Dalia Edwards in the kitchen of her new restaurant, Dalia’s Caribbean Kitchen, 832 Elm St., Youngstown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.