Go to This Cypress Restaurant for a Taste of Jamaican Paradise
Jamaica Paradise Kitchen is a new, family-owned and -operated restaurant that opened last November in the Cypress Lakes Plaza shopping center at 14710 Mueschke. It is putting forth some irresistible, authentic Jamaican cuisine.
Upon entry, you’re likely to be greeted from behind the counter by Kamal McDonald, a passionate young chef who runs the restaurant with his adoptive mother, Andrea McDonald, a professor at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). She co-owns Jamaica Paradise Kitchen with her daughter, Olivia Johnson-Hopkins. Kamal has told me he has had a lifelong passion for food and cooking, and it was always his dream to operate a restaurant. He also runs Kamal’s Paradise Kitchen, a catering company that specializes in prepared meals, parties, corporate events and more.
The family behind Jamaica Paradise lived in Jamaica then moved to the United States around 20 years ago. Dr. McDonald attended Prairie View A&M University and earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, food and dietetics, and a master’s degree in human sciences, as well as a doctorate in health education from Texas A&M. These days, Dr. McDonald serves on multiple campus committees and councils, and is the curriculum chair for the Department of Health and Kinesiology, yet still found the time to open a restaurant with her daughter, who also works as a registered nurse in the Texas Medical Center.
Since opening in November of 2022, Johnson-Hopkins has told me the restaurant has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Cy-Fair community, of which they are also residents. She recommends that guests trying Jamaican cuisine for the first time order her brother’s jerk chicken, which has quickly become the restaurant’s best-selling item — which she tells me has won several local cook-off challenges.
On my first visit, I ordered Curry Goat: a one-pot, slow-cooked showstopper that develops a deep intensity of flavor over time. Marinated goat, which is low in saturated fat and has a high collagen content that adds incredible silkiness, is stewed with peppers, onions, curry powder, pimento berries (a.k.a. Jamaican allspice), thyme and garlic until it falls off the bone. The memory of these intense aromatics and savory curry stays with you, and I found myself thinking about it long after I’d left. The dish is served with Jamaican steamed cabbage, fried sweet plantains and rice and peas, a mainstay side dish made with long-grain rice, kidney beans, Scotch bonnet peppers, coconut milk and Caribbean herbs and spices.
I also tried a Jamaican Beef Patty — a buttery, flaky turnover filled with well-seasoned beef inside a yellow-hued crust. The color is thanks to a pastry made with egg yolks and curry powder, which contains turmeric. The meat patties are made fresh each day and stored in the pastry warmer behind the counter. Note that these are easy to miss on the menu board, being listed as a side rather than an entrée or appetizer.
Lunch specials are offered Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and include Jerk Salmon Bowls or Salads, Curry Chicken Plates and Brown Stew Chicken. Dinnertime options include Jerk Chicken Pasta, Jamaican Oxtail, Curry Goat, Two Meat Combos, or Chicken Plates with your choice of either jerk, curry, brown stew or their proprietary Paradise Chicken.
For refreshments, a number of popular Caribbean sodas and beverages are available, including Vitamalt, D&G Genuine Jamaican Ginger Beer, Big Bamboo Irish Moss and Grace Foods Tropical Rhythms.
The bulk of Jamaica Paradise Kitchen’s business comes from pick-up orders and delivery, available through DoorDash. The restaurant itself is a stark, yellow room with just two four-top tables, but don’t be dissuaded by the meager furnishings (or the economical banner on the outside which functions as their sign). Come here to have your palate rocked. The story of this family’s American dream come true makes every bite taste that much better.
Jamaica Paradise Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Look for the Jamaican flag waving in the air.
Mario-Sebastian Berry is a wine and spirits vendor who has been in the hospitality industry since 2002. Currently, he represents Blanco, Texas-based Andalusia Whiskey Co. and multiple wine labels. Somehow, he also finds time to be Houston Food Finder’s associate editor social media manager.
Whats the address of this place
In the first paragraph… Cypress Lakes Plaza shopping center at 14710 Mueschke. Thanks for reading!
If its Jamaican food its RICE AND PEAS not peas and rice.
Where is this place located
Cypress Lakes Plaza shopping center at 14710 Mueschke
My husband and I will visit this restaurant soon and thanks for the article
Thanks for sharing this article. We Jamaicans appreciate the word being spread about our wonderful cuisine and culture. We look forward to the day though when people will say rice and peas and not peas and rice. That’s how we say it in Jamaica.🤭
Ha ha! Thanks for the correction, and the kind words.
Rice and peas primarily rice hence ♥