Spotlight on Black-owned businesses: Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen

Front+view+of+Barrington%27s+Jamaican+Kitchen+at+4120+Ming+Ave.+Bakersfield%2C+CA.+Photo+provided+by+Barrington%27s+Jamaican+Kitchen.

Photo provided by Barrington's Jamaican Kitchen

Front view of Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen at 4120 Ming Ave. Bakersfield, CA. Photo provided by Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen.

Kaleigh Day, Features Writer

  If you’re searching for an island paradise in Bakersfield, you can find it in a parking lot. Though it sounds counterintuitive, nestled between Petsmart and Wienerschnitzel off of Ming and Stine is Barrington’s Jamaican Kitchen, a small restaurant turning out authentic Jamaican fare.  

  At the helm is owner Barrington Lewis whose love of community and food led to a hometown hidden gem. 

  For Lewis, this business seems to have been inevitable. He started in the kitchen learning traditional Jamaican recipes from his mother and says his kitchen skills bloomed at the age of 15 when he was in the Combined Cadet Force. Lewis recounted his time in the force preparing food for upwards of 150 other young men as a great learning experience. 

  This homestyle method of cooking for crowds has allowed him to cater several local events including CSU Bakersfield Alumni and Take Out Tuesday. His authentic food has even garnered upwards of 200 reviews and five stars on Yelp.   

  Barrington’s is best known for their succulent jerk chicken with the perfect blend of peppery heat and a subtle sweetness. On the weekends, Barrington’s serves savory, tender oxtail and Brownstew chicken with a side of cabbage and plantains.  

  “My boyfriend kept breaking into happy-dance moves while he was eating the Jerk Chicken. The Curry Chicken had such a nice flavor and the potatoes were the best. I’m looking forward to going back to try the Oxtail and Brownstew chicken on the weekend,” Trish Stanifer said about her experience at Barrington’s. 

  The food isn’t the only thing that keeps customers coming time and time again; many credit the excellent service provided by Lewis and his staff as a driving force in the business’s overall appeal. 

   “Barrington’s is one of those places that check off all of the ‘yes’ boxes for me. It’s a locally owned, family establishment and the prices are great for the portions! The owner is a sweetheart and deserves all the business he gets,” Heidi Bailey wrote via her Yelp review. 

  Lewis stated that his hope in opening the restaurant was to bring people together through food. 

“When I was putting together the business, I wanted to give customers a place to reminisce about their time in Jamaica. I wanted it (the restaurant) to be a place where family and friends can have that nostalgic taste,” Lewis said. 

  What’s even more important to Lewis is the mark he has left on his community. Local news outlets have praised him for feeding the homeless in Bakersfield with food leftover by the time of closing.  

  Aside from the restaurant, Lewis has also been heavily involved in West High School’s track team where he has been a volunteer coach. He says that community-building is what fuels him to grow the business. 

  “I’m after happiness and peace of mind. I tell my kids, ‘when you can walk without having to look over your shoulder, that’s how you know you’ve done good. That’s what this (the restaurant) is’,” Lewis said.