Jamaican Spice WV brings authentic Caribbean Flavor to Morgantown—Again.
Jamaican cuisine might be new for many folks in Morgantown, but for Kela Munye, it tastes like home. Originally from Jamaica, Munye has been cooking since she was a child, and she credits her skills largely to her grandmother. She decided a few years ago to share her talents with her community here in Morgantown.
In 2019, Munye established Jamaican Spice, a family-owned and -operated restaurant on Green Bag Road serving authentic Jamaican fare. It was a huge hit, with popular dishes like the oxtail stew typically selling out by early afternoon. Unfortunately for her many loyal customers, changes in Munye’s family dynamic during the COVID-19 pandemic led her to close the restaurant—but this wouldn’t be the end of her story. “I wanted to reopen, because the community gave me so much support every day on my Facebook page,” she says. “With the amount of people reaching out to me asking, ‘Can you do private catering?’ ‘Can you do this?’ ‘Can you do that?’ I knew I was coming back—it was only a matter of time.”
She knew that, if she were to open another restaurant, she wanted it to be closer to WVU. And about a year after she closed Jamaican Spice, Munye stumbled across a “for rent” sign on Beechurst Avenue and instantly fell in love with the space. “When I called, they told me they’d just put that sign up—same day,” she says. “So, I felt like the place found me more than I found the place.”
Munye opened Jamaican Spice WV in August of 2022. “It’s an entirely new entity,” she says, with all-new equipment, a growing menu, and a new business name that emphasizes her dedication to bringing traditional Jamaican flavors to the Mountain State.
The menu offers the jerk chicken you’d expect if you’re familiar with Jamaican cuisine as well as sweet chicken for those who don’t like spice, curried goat, and traditional yellow-hued meat pies, or “patties,” colored by turmeric. And there’s also that heavenly oxtail—a heap of tender stewed meat and gravy served atop a healthy scoop of “rice and peas”—what we non-Jamaicans know as beans and rice. Butter beans are there in the mix, with cooked cabbage and delicious fried plantains.
At the time of writing, Jamaican Spice WV is bringing the flavor from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday. Get it while it’s hot.