Restaurant offering many Caribbean flavors to open next month in Gurnee
A restaurant offering dishes from throughout the Caribbean is set to open in Gurnee next month.
The menu at Caribana Island Bar & Grill will include Jamaican classics like jerk chicken and oxtail, empanadas as they are served in Belize and Haitian food like Creole chicken, said the restaurant's general manager Bret Paul.
Paul, who lives in Grayslake and was born in Haiti's capital city Port-au-Prince, said the restaurant isn't specific to one Caribbean nation so customers can sample the region's different flavors and spices.
If the restaurant's name sounds familiar that's because this is Paul's second attempt at the concept. The original Caribana Island location in Lindenhurst closed in February 2022.
"We opened in June 2019 and around eight months later COVID happened and we never recovered," Paul said. "Everything was going good but the challenges were too great since the restaurant was new."
Paul said fans of the Lindenhurst original can expect to see a larger menu at the Gurnee location that includes gluten-free and vegan options.
Two other features the Gurnee restaurant will have that the original didn't will be a full bar and live entertainment on the weekends. Paul said Caribana Island's bar offerings will include signature cocktails inspired by the Caribbean. And the entertainment will include poetry nights, salsa music and reggae performers.
"This way people from here don't have to drive all the way to Chicago to get this kind of entertainment," Paul said.
Paul said he plans for Caribana Island to have a soft opening the second week of February. The restaurant is located at Pembrook Corners strip mall at 5250 Grand Ave. near the intersection with Lawson Boulevard just north of Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.