Tampa, FL (WFLA) – When Janise Thompson was just a very young girl she learned how to cook.
“Since I was knee high,” she said. Her grandmother and mother taught her. “I got pulled to the stove when I was around 8 years old.”
Thomas is from St. Thomas Virgin Islands. It’s where her entire family learned to cook. They did so much cooking, to this day they still have family cooking competitions.
“Our family gets together once a month to compete on dishes,” she said.
That upbringing and love for food sparked her to finally realize her culinary dreams. On October 1st, she and husband Andre opened Yah Mon Caribbean Restaurant in Tampa’s Hyde Park.
“It’s something I have wanted for a long time,” Janise said.
But where they opened the restaurant wasn’t their first choice, but said it’s where they are supposed to be.
“Another location fell through and we kind of just stumbled on this one,” Andre Thompson said. “The area is fantastic.”
When you walk in, the entire restaurant is almost all white… from the bar stools, to the booths, to the table cloths.
The menu features delicacies like curry chicken, curry goat, oxtails, brown stew chicken and jerk chicken. But there’s more, including many vegetarian dishes.
“People love the jerk chicken, the goat and the blackened Salmon,” Janise added.
Andre runs the business side and the front house, in addition to his full time job as Director of player Development for the Hard Rock hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Janise handles the cooking. Every recipe comes from family. She’s had no formal training, but says everything she prepares is authentic island cooking.
The couple, parents of six sons, said business so far has been good. They’re glad to bring a touch of the islands, to the Tampa Bay area.
Yah Mon is located at 301 West Platt Street, Suite C. Tampa.
They’re open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM – 09:00 PM, Fridays 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM and every 1st & 3rd Saturday from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM and 1st & 3rd Sundays from noon to 7 PM.
The Thompson’s say they close 2nd & 4th weekends to spend time with family.