Wearing a hair net and shirt caked with flour, Wayne Allen leaned against a counter in his new Jamaican restaurant.
"I always wanted this," he said.
Armed with decades of experience, he said he's taking what he learned as a Philadelphia chef and applying it at his new York City restaurant, where his mother and three other employees help him cook authentic recipes.
Island Spice opened a week ago at 675 E. Market St., giving Allen the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream.
"I'm sharing my Jamaican culture with people. The spice in our food is a different taste. It's not about heat, it's about flavor," he said.
Menu items -- which range in price from 50 cents to $10 -- include ackee and saltfish, calaloo and saltfish, curry chicken, dumplings, oxtail, stew chicken, jerk chicken, chicken wings, porridge, steamed cabbage, fried plantains and more.
City resident Darryl Arnold said he prefers the jerk chicken.
"I've already had it twice. There's not a lot of Jamaican food in York, so it's cool," he said.
Island Spice is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and most customers order take-out or stop in on their way home from work, Allen said.
He said he "can't complain" about the number of guests who have patronized Island Spice since its opening a week ago, and he is continuing to spread the word through fliers and word of mouth.
"I also want to add breakfast soon, and one day I can see expanding the restaurant," he said.
-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.