Kingston 11 has been serving chef Nigel Jones’ flavorful Jamaican dishes since he opened it in 2013 on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue. Now the chef will find a new audience across the Bay Bridge at Kaya, the Caribbean restaurant he will open with chef Daniel Patterson in mid-January.
According to the SF Chronicle, Jones and Patterson were connected by Jones business partner Adrian Henderson, who met Patterson through his work with Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC); Patterson has been working with the organization on its racial equity pilot program at his Alta restaurants. They became friends, and a partnership emerged as Patterson decided to hold on to his soon-to-be-vacant restaurant space in Mid-Market (Alta will close at the end of the year, and move down the street and open in the Yotel at 1095 Market Street).
Kaya, which is both the title of a Bob Marley and the Wailers album and Jamaican slang for weed, will bring bold flavors to the neighborhood, replacing what was a California-focused popular among the employees of neighboring tech firms. Jones told the Chron: “I bring my flavors. I’m not tamping down for anybody. It’s hard to tell if San Francisco is a place where my culture and food will be accepted, but I’m ready to find out.”
Those flavors include Jamaican staples like jerk chicken, plantains, salt fish fritters, and oxtail stew. These are the dishes that launched Jones’ pop-up to restaurant status five years ago, garnering a loyal following in the East Bay. Now he’ll work with Patterson to create a bigger opportunity to enjoy Jamaican flavors for a new audience, while creating careers — particularly for young people of color looking for chance in the restaurant industry.
“Everyone talks about how there’s no diversity, especially in fine dining, but then people will say it’s because there are no black or brown candidates to choose from,” Jones told the Chron. “This would solve that problem. We all need connections.”