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Let’s Eat: Negril Jamaican Restaurant

Approximately 60% of restaurants fail within the first year of operation and 80% fail within the

first five years. These numbers are a harsh reality for many restaurant owners, however on the flip side, the remaining 20% of restaurants go on to find longterm growth and success. That is the company that Negril Jamaican Restaurant finds itself in. Now considered an Orlando mainstay, Negril's touts itself as being the most authentic Caribbean restaurant in Orlando. In businesses for over 16 years, owner Steve Myers attributes the majority of his success to serving authentic, fresh Jamaican cuisine at an affordable price. When we first opened, "having dishes at a price point of $3.99 was important to get people in the door" said Myers.

Due to the success he's had over the years operating Negril, and of course Classic, authentic Jamaican fare, including seafood, offered in a casual space. how tantalizing the food is, it's easy to assume that Myers attended culinary school to hone his skills. However, you would be shocked to learn that this former truck driver has no professional culinary training. Instead, he learned how to cook from observing his parents, and the recipes featured at Negril's, are courtesy of his grandmother.

What started as one restaurant in Pine Hills at 6301 Silver Star Road has flourished to three locations including a location in Ocoee at 2795 Old Winter Garden Road and a third restaurant located at 2254 S. Kirkman Rd. When asked the question "What's next?" Myers, excitedly replies, that he has something special in store for the Pine Hills location so stay tuned. We can't wait to see what he has planned.

Myers is extremely aware of his role in the community. In fact, as he puts it, "without the community, there would be no Negril Jamaican Restaurant." To that end, six years ago began a successful back-to school giveaway that he hosts at his Pine Hills restaurant location. The annual event was unfortunately canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but typically features pens, pencils, backpacks and other items needed to help kids start the school year out right.

Myers is committed to the improvement of the community and believes that more needs to be done in terms of support from the government for Pine Hills. "Things happen elsewhere that don't happen here." Myers has complained about the stoplight right outside the front door of his restaurant on the corner of Silver Star Rd. & Powers Drive in Pine Hills where several dangerous accidents have occurred. That intersection needs work. If it were in another community, it would be fixed." Our community deserves better!

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