LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - Over the weekend retired Army veteran, Romeo Thompson celebrated the grand opening of his restaurant "The Jamaican Spot.'
Over the weekend retired Army veteran, Romeo Thompson celebrated the grand opening of his restaurant "The Jamaican Spot.' | Image Source: KALB / Lydia Magallanes
Growing up in Jamaica, one of Thompson's boyhood dreams was to become a soldier. He joined the United States Army as an adult after spending a few years in the country. He recently retired in August. Thompson was assigned to Fort Polk in 2006 and fell in love with the area.
"The warmth of the people in the community, it was different. It was just like when I was growing up back in Jamaica where everybody was respectable. They say 'thank you,' 'yes sir, yes ma'am.' This Southern charm that I never knew about."
Known for his cooking, Thompson said encouragement from his late Sergeant Major and a lunch gig across the street at The Veteran's Place over the summer lead him to open his restaurant.
"I'm one of those free-spirited persons, see everybody on the street, take them to my house, feed them, because that was in our nature. In Jamaica, my grandmother always cooked extra because she says she does not know who will be passing by and is hungry."
However, it's more than Caribbean cuisine, the new restaurant owner said his doors will always be open to veterans and the community.
"I hope to give people who need a job if it's even to come and wash dishes for a day, something that they can do and they feel satisfied. I want to bring smiles to peoples faces. We make bellies bust here!"
Thompson said he's fulfilled two of his three childhood dreams: he was a police officer in Jamaica before coming to the U.S. and joining the Army. The last profession on his list is a firefighter.
The Jamaican Spot is located on 1507 S. 5th St. in Leesville.