NEW JAMAICAN RESTAURANT BUILT ON FAMILY’S DREAM, WIFE’S MEMORY

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Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, we have seen many businesses close up shop for good, but one local restaurant is looking on the bright side and bringing their Jamaican roots to tables right here on Tuscaloosa. The company has served the area from their well known food truck for a few years now.

The dream to open Reggae Flava restaurant was born several years ago to Tomeo and Tamara Tomlinson. Tamara was battling breast cancer at the time the couple moved to Tuscaloosa.

“It’s been rough,” Romeo Tomlinson told WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton. “We moved here to Tuscaloosa so my wife could go to the cancer center.”

Although many area restaurants have been forced to close their doors due to effects of COVID-19, Tomlinson said he is not focusing on the unknown, but instead on the dream that is finally becoming reality.

“I am keeping my hopes high,” Tomlinson said. “The food truck has been maintaining us.”

Sadly, Tamara passed away last year, but the Tomlinsons’ dream did not.

“When I wanted to start a restaurant, she was for it,” Tomlinson said. “No matter what happened, she had my back. She had faith in our business.”

A portion of the restaurant is named Tam’s Island. There a wind chime with the words “I am here” hanging in her memory. Romeo said he wants his wife’s love and heart to show in the food created from their restaurant they build together.

“We want everybody who visits us to feel like they are on vacation,” Tomlinson said. “I just want them to walk away happy.”

When you walk into Reggae Flava, Jamaican sentiments are all around you, and when you leave, you’ll most likely sound the most sentimental of them all.

Next to the exit of the restaurant is a bell that was rung by Tamara Tomlinson during her cancer battle when she would make accomplish steps toward improvement.

Tomlinson and his staff hope that when customers enjoy their experience at Reggae Flava, they’ll ring that bell for Tamara on their way out.

Reggae Flava’s grand opening is Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 1 p.m. They’re located at 2322 Fourth St. in Tuscaloosa, at Temerson Square in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The public is invited to come celebrate with the staff and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

All health and sanitation guidelines will be followed.

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