With an ever-expanding empire of Jamaican cuisine, including a new location coming soon to Shaker Heights, chef Omar McKay doesn’t dine out much. “If I wasn’t involved like that,” he says, “I wouldn’t be where I am today.” But when he’s not in his Euclid, Akron or Old Brooklyn kitchens, you can find him at one of these local spots.
Mediterranean Delights: I’m a big fan of Lebanese food. I love Mediterranean food. Taza in Beachwood and downtown is the best I’ve ever tried. Their salads, hummus and couscous are great, but beef pitas are what I typically go for.
Casual Night Out: You can have a really great night out at TownHall. It’s a place I go to with my family. I usually get either the keto wings or the strip steak. They’ve got great customer service and the ambiance is just wonderful.
Fresh Fish: If you’re looking for somewhat fine dining and a bit intimate with small plates, go to Salmon Dave’s Pacific Grille in Rocky River. I’ve always dreamed of opening up a Jamaican restaurant like that, a really nice sit-down place. The last time I went, I got the halibut with some risotto and sauteed spinach. It was great. The decor and customer service blows me away. It really inspires me when I see what they do there.
Bringing Culture to Cleveland: My inspiration to open my own business came from my wanting to share my culture and its food with those unaware of it. Working in different kitchens, I saw that the need for Jamaican food wasn’t where I wanted it to be. When I first started, there were no other Jamaican restaurants. I wanted to be the one who made that impact.