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Caribbean Grill set to open permanent location

Caribbean+Grill+executive+chef+and+owner+Mike+Harden+and+his+culinary+team+prepare+for+their+first+permanent+restaurant+location%2C+which+is+set+to+open+Tuesday%2C+May+30+at+2135+S+Neil+St.%2C+Champaign.+Caribbean+Grill+is+currently+operating+out+of+a+food+truck+and+a+catering+location.++
Caribbean Grill executive chef and owner Mike Harden and his culinary team prepare for their first permanent restaurant location, which is set to open Tuesday, May 30 at 2135 S Neil St., Champaign. Caribbean Grill is currently operating out of a food truck and a catering location.

Caribbean Grill executive chef and owner Mike Harden and his culinary team prepare for their first permanent restaurant location, which is set to open Tuesday, May 30 at 2135 S Neil St., Champaign. Caribbean Grill is currently operating out of a food truck and a catering location.

Photo submitted by Mike Harden

Photo submitted by Mike Harden

Caribbean Grill executive chef and owner Mike Harden and his culinary team prepare for their first permanent restaurant location, which is set to open Tuesday, May 30 at 2135 S Neil St., Champaign. Caribbean Grill is currently operating out of a food truck and a catering location.

Jessica Bursztynsky, Interim Editor-in-Chief

Caribbean Grill, a local food business, is set to expand from its current food truck and catering services to a permanent restaurant location, opening at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30.

The brick-and-mortar restaurant is located at 2135 S Neil St. in Champaign and will be serving customers on Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Caribbean Grill was introduced to the community seven years ago at the Taste of Champaign-Urbana by Mike Harden, executive chef and owner.

“From there, we grew very organically and incremently (sic) to offer catering, then adding a one-day weekly carry-out lunch service, to the food truck daily for lunch, and now finally a brick-and-mortar restaurant location,” Harden said in an email.

The restaurant will continue to serve a menu similar to the food truck’s, but will provide more consistent and expanded options, including Jerk Fish, Curry Chicken and Beef Oxtails, said Harden.

“We’ll also be doing fun themed specials like Taco Tuesdays with items like jerk tacos, nachos, and burritos and Smokin’ Saturdays, which will feature traditional bbq menu items with a Jamaican jerk twist,” he added.

Caribbean Grill has been positioning itself to expand to a permanent location “for a long time coming,” said Harden.

The last endeavor for the business was in 2015, with the addition of bringing the food truck to campus. The food truck will remain in operation after the storefront opens, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Goodwin and Oregon in Urbana.

“Part of the reason that I appreciate our seven year journey to get to this point is that our incremental growth has enabled us to learn as we go, and apply that knowledge to each new phase we enter,” Harden said. “We are far better prepared than we were three years ago, five years ago, and certainly seven years ago. We’ve positioned Caribbean Grill to stand the test of time, and become a fixture in the Champaign-Urbana culinary landscape.”

burszty2@dailyillini.com

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