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Jamaican restaurant opens in Canton

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CANTON — Dorcas Ofori, a SUNY Canton student from the Bronx, liked the Jamaican food at the village’s new restaurant so much she ate there four times in six days.

“The first time I had it, I dreamed about it,” she said, a takeout bag in hand. “On campus, everybody knows about it and is excited.”

Da Kitchen, 13 Hodskin St., which had its grand opening March 29, already has a steady stream of customers eager for curry chicken, jerk chicken, oxtails, steamed vegetables, plantains, and rice and peas seasoned Jamaican style.

Proprietor Jody A. Pitt, who opened the restaurant with partner Repton L. Abraham, said she knew when she came to SUNY Canton from Brooklyn what it meant to crave something familiar.

“It was something needed for the community, especially the city kids,” she said. “Being a student yourself, you miss having a cooked meal. This is almost like being at home.”

Mr. Abraham was born in Jamaica and moved to the U.S. in 2000. Ms. Pitt, who came to Canton from Brooklyn, is of Jamaican descent.

Ms. Pitt and Mr. Abraham had wanted to move into the Miner Street home of Leonie’s Jamaican Cuisine, which closed in 2010, but the building no longer was available. Instead, landlord Henry R. “Hank” Ford found them a spot next to his barbershop on Hodskin Street.

Da Kitchen’s menu is limited with specials, such as fish or soup, on certain days. The jerk sauce is homemade.

“Nothing is overly spicy for the people not accustomed to it except for the jerk chicken,” Ms. Pitt said.

Da Kitchen, 379-9022, is mostly takeout, but Ms. Pitt and Mr. Abraham eventually plan to have stools for the high bar counters. Delivery is free, with a $12 minimum. Catering is available.

The restaurant’s hours are noon to 11 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

The restaurant accepts cash only, although Ms. Pitt said she is working on taking college student cards.

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