New eatery offers Caribbean cuisine

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Mellissa Troyer, left, adds cabbage to a meal Thursday while serving Corey Green, right, and Lashonda Johnson at Mama's Meals at Golden East Crosssing mall.


Staff Writer

Friday, November 2, 2018

A new Caribbean-style restaurant opened in September across from Conn’s HomePlus in Golden East Crossing mall.

Mama’s Meals is leasing 1,704 square feet of space that Chick-fil-A once occupied in the mall. Mama’s Meals features Guyanese food that include curries, Chinese noodles, stews and rice. 

The menu consists of several small and large entrees priced between $6.50 and $11, with all platters coming with a side of vegetable, roti or rice and a roll. Entrees include curried chicken, curried beef, curried goat, curried shrimp, ox tail, stewed chicken and pepper pot platters. 

Also on the menu are chicken, beef and vegetable chow meins and different beverages such as sorrel, mauby, sour sop and tamarind drinks and ginger beer. Sheena Jerman, general and leasing manager at Golden East Crossing, said Mama’s Meals brings something unique to the mall and another option in addition to the choices at the mall’s food court.

“Mama’s Meals is a good fit for Golden East Crossing because the restaurant brings a different cultural food option to Golden East as well as the Rocky Mount community,” Jerman said. “Our goal was to bring something different to Golden East Crossing and the customers in our trade area. We believe Mama’s Meals helps us do so. We’re excited to have Mama’s Meals join our team of merchants and we’re looking forward to a long partnership together.” 

Ora Owens, 78, is the owner of Mama’s Meals. Owens is from Guyana, a country located in the northeast corner of South America. The cuisine is a culinary hybrid of African, East Indian, Portuguese, American Indian and Chinese influences. Owens said she used to own a restaurant in Guyana.

Owens, who also helps cook the food, explained all the food is made fresh, including Mama’s Meals’ cakes and breads that are made from scratch. Owens has eight employees at Mama’s Meals, including a chef from Guyana and a couple of children helping with the restaurant.

“We do not cook pork or fried chicken,” Owens said. “We stew everything, so you don’t get that bulk of oil.”

Owens is the mother of 13 children. Her daughter Nicole Steele is a certified public accountant who started a tax service in the mall called DNN Advisory Services LLC at the beginning of the year. Steele spent years as a CPA in New York, before moving down to Rocky Mount to be near her mother following the death of her husband. Steele, who still is trying to build her clientele, said her speciality is working with corporate and Fortune 500 companies

Steele also cooks all the vegetables at the restaurant. She said her mother believes Mama’s Meals brings something distinctive to the Twin Counties.

“My mother opened this place to introduce Guyana food to people in Rocky Mount because it’s unusual food in that very few people in Rocky Mount are familar with that style of cooking,” Steele said. “With our food, we appeal to a lower-income person, but we also appeal to a middle-income person because of the taste. Everything we cook is natural and nothing is processed. We’ve had a good amount of people to try our food and hopefully more people in the community and surrounding areas will come and find out what we’re all about.”

Owens said Mama’s Meals is hoping in the near future it can add a delivery service. Mama’s Meals is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant can be reached at 252-210-3029. The Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce is holding a grand open ribbon-cutting celebration for Mama’s Meals at 10 a.m. today.