We bought this truck two and a half years ago and built it piece by piece

January 20, 2024

“I recently opened this food truck with my buddy, Tevin. We both came from Jamaica years ago to work at the Grand Hotel. I was a bartender. He’s still a chef there. Workers stayed in apartments in Fairhope, and I cooked chicken for us on the grill out front. I had never jerked chicken, but I started adding seasoning. That’s jerking chicken. Everybody loved it, so I kept jerking. Tevin and I wanted to do something together and be our own boss. We bought this truck two and a half years ago and built it piece by piece. We had no money. Broke. But we did it anyway. B&T Island Roots started from a grill outside an apartment in Fairhope. 

I was 11 or 12 when I started cooking for my younger brothers while our parents worked. I later had my own restaurant. You can make it in Jamaica, but it takes a longer time. I can work for six months in Jamaica, but it takes only three months to make the same money in the U.S. I went back and forth to Jamaica until I met my wife and stayed here. There is a big Jamaican community in Foley and Gulf Shores. 

I lost my mom, stepdad, mother-in-law, and four-year-old son in a car accident in Jamaica almost 20 years ago. They were everything to me. The pain still lingers. I take a deep breath and pray every morning and night. I read my BibleI know there’s a God. Those hard times prepared me for the struggle of building this business. When life feels hard, I remember that I have been through worse. I put myself in others’ shoes and do more for them than I do for myself. I tell people there is always a way; the right time will be the right time. I have a 17-year-old daughter in Jamaica and a five-month-old daughter here. They give me joy and reasons to keep loving.  

People helped as we got this truck going. One buddy let us use his commissary; another drove me around, helping find spots to park the truck. Refuge Coffee, Fairhope Brewery, and Braided River Brewery have been great to us. There are opportunities and the right people here, but you still have to go and grasp it. Fail and try again. 

This isn’t an easy job, but I try to do better every day. Perfection and consistency. Our guys are dedicated; we are accomplishing what we want the right way and working toward our own restaurant. Our specialties are jerk chicken and oxtail cooked like a stew. We want our American family to enjoy this. Anyone can be a friend, but this is family. It’s serious and more personal.” 

Baswell

(B&T Island Roots will be at Refuge Coffee Shop on Greeno Road on Saturday, January 20 and at Thomas Hospital on Monday, January 22)

 

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