MERIDEN — A food truck specializing in Jamaican cuisine is scheduled to open this week at 201 S. Broad St.
Yawdi’s Jamaican Cuisine is owned by De’Angelo Hall, who also owns Deangelo’s Wine & Liquor which he opened about three months ago. The food truck will be parked next to the Deangelo’s Wine & Liquor on South Broad Street for Wednesday’s scheduled opening.
“Food and liquor have always been passions for me,” Hall said. “I grew up around this, growing up in Jamaica, and my mom had a bar. So I told myself one day I’m going to own a liquor store and a restaurant so I made that happen.”
Yawdi’s will be adding to the Caribbean flavor of Meriden dining.
“One of the good things about the city of Meriden is we do have a very diverse option of restaurants. Whether it be ethnic based or a variety of different cuisines, we’re happy to welcome them to the city,” said Joseph Feest, Meriden economic development director. “I definitely encourage residents to go out and try them.”
The restaurant’s name comes from the Jamaican term “Yawdy/Yardie” which is a Jamaican person.
“Yawdi’s is an authentic Jamaican food truck,” Hall said. “We’re offering a variety of Jamaican food like jerk chicken, jerk salmon, oxtail, rice & peas, steamed fish, rasta pasta, soup, jerk chicken salad, beef patty, sweet plantains, and protein bowls; all the good stuff.”
They will also be offering lunch specials, soup of the day, and sweet treats.
“We have what we call drops; it’s coconut grated with sugar to create a dessert,” Hall said.
Two of the three workers at the truck are Jamaican born and raised chefs/cooks.
“My cousin who was the head chef for the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami, Florida is going to be our head chef along with Carleen (Steele),” Hall said.
They started the process of opening the business back in 2022 and “it all came to life this year,” Hall said.
“We’ve been talking about it for months and we kept putting it off and then I said ‘Hey, we should do this now. It’s time and (Carleen) said, ‘Let’s find a truck and get it done’ and it finally happened,” Hall added.
He purchased the truck about a month ago and got right to work on the remodel.
“We had to do some upgrades to pass the inspections and things like that, but we also have all new equipment in there as well,” Hall said. Bringing food to the people
When asked why they decided to open a food truck versus storefront he said it was because they want the quality food that they’re going to give to their customers to be experienced by people in different areas around town.
“We’re going to go to different vendor locations and we have a lot on State Street by the train station as well,” Hall added. “And we’re going to update people on our Facebook about where we will be.”
Hall chose to open up shop in Meriden because he spends a lot of time in town with family that live here and he always wants some good Jamaican food, but there weren’t many options so he decided to become one.
“I was in the restaurant business before, I previously co-owned another Jamaican restaurant, and I want to be able to bring authentic Jamaican food to Meriden because Meriden needs that, they need the real deal,” he added. “So it’s just good to bring something different to the city.”
Hall was born in Ocho Rios, a parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. He came to the United States when he was 14 years old, went to the Job Corps for automotive and then attended Eastern Connecticut State University. He is a big family man and animal lover.
“I grew up in New Haven then I moved to Willimantic where I spent most of my life. But I currently reside in Windsor,” Hall said. “I’m trying to move closer to either Meriden or Cromwell because the food truck and liquor store are here and it would be more convenient.”
Yawdi’s Jamaican Cuisine is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. To reach the business by phone call 203-718-6515 or by email at Yawdisjamaicancuisine@gmail.com. They can be found on Facebook & Instagram yawdisjamaicancuisine