“One particular of the places I know to be the closest to what I know of Caribbean culture is Brown Sugar,” Empress Bee, a very first technology Caribbean American whose mother is Jamaican and father is from Barbados, stated.

The Brown Sugar she is referring to is Brown Sugar Bakery and Cafe, a Trinidadian restaurant located at 219 S. 52nd St.

“Foodstuff is the number a person way I find a connection to my tradition, and Brown Sugar is surely a vibe,” Empress Bee stated.

In accordance to personnel Cherry Ann Charles, Brown Sugar opened in the early ’90s and turned a safe space for all factors Caribbean in the heart of West Philadelphia.

While Philadelphians might normally assume of Jamaican food when it comes to Caribbean cuisine, Brown Sugar stands apart from competitors as a Trinidadian cafe.

It may possibly be a minimal hard to find this eatery on the world-wide-web, nevertheless. It is not on any shipping and delivery applications and would not have a website.

Brown Sugar Bakery & Cafe serves reliable Trinidadian foodstuff that includes staples of Caribbean delicacies. Its menu can improve from week to week, based on the availability and freshness of elements.

Empress Bee stated the restaurant is most known for “carrying out doubles” on the weekends. Clients anticipate a minimal source of fried curried chickpea sandwiches smothered in peppered tamarind sauce recognized as doubles.

The exhibit circumstances are stocked with conventional baked products. There are cakes, sweet buns, coco bread, and about half a dozen other pastries built refreshing on a normal basis.

A display fridge of drinks presents a selection of Caribbean favorites, like Jamaican Ting, kola Champagne, and specialty juices.

Prior to the pandemic, Brown Sugar designed in-residence smoothies. These smoothie juices are now geared up forward, and characteristic plant-based island components like sorrel and hibiscus, as effectively as superfoods these as sea moss gel.

Brown Sugar invitations prospects to knowledge Caribbean culture employing all their senses, not only attractive the eyes and tongue, but ears as properly.

In accordance to Charles, prior to the pandemic, the compact bakery and cafe would rearrange its place to host reside songs exhibits to give clients a place to fete and whine.

During the day, when it was not get together central, prospects savored a space wherever they could commune with other Caribbeans to try to eat, pass time, and talk about get-togethers, cricket, and motion pictures.

Significantly has altered considering that the pandemic. These days, the spirit and strength life on via images of dancehall, soca, and reggae artists that line the trim of the dining room and metal pan beats pulse by way of a radio speaker.

“Customers continue to come in,” Charles explained. “Usually towards the close of the week. Around when they get paid out.”

Constraints owing to COVID have transformed the format of Brown Sugar’s operations, but the tiny staff members seem to control to uphold its values. No more time ready on shoppers eating-in, Charles finds new approaches to employ client care by partaking friends in conversation whilst they decide up their food items.

“Buyer care is vital,” Charles mentioned. “We have constant consumers and folks who just quit by. We want absolutely everyone to come to feel welcome.”

Their endeavours you should not go unnoticed.

“I have acknowledged about this spot for a long time,” Tanea Brown, a West Philadelphia indigenous, stated. “I come back again listed here when I’m on this side.”

Make sure you e-mail any queries or considerations about this tale to: editor@philadelphianeighbors.com.

This tale was originally published by PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com.