Caribbean restaurant ‘brings something new to Coventry’ to open

A Caribbean restaurant serving authentic specialties opens in Coventry. Jerk chicken, donuts, rice, peas and wings will all be on the menu at Spon Street’s Caribbean Choice.

The restaurant, which is based at the Coventry Caribbean Centre, is run by husband and wife team Claudia and Gary Whyte. The couple have just put the finishing touches on their cozy restaurant, which is due to open in April.

Gary worked as a chef in Jamaica for years until arriving in the UK 20 years ago, and Claudia worked in the corporate world as a banker and project manager before leaving to pursue his passion for food. “Food is like music, a universal language,” Gary told CoventryLive.

READ MORE:Heather Small and Paul Oakenfold among stars coming to Coventry

“I grew up in Jamaica, around my grandmother’s kitchen. She would explain things to us, and at 17, I got my first job in a hotel working in a kitchen. I tried several times of starting a catering business that didn’t do well. Coming to the UK, I brought that passion for food.

Gary rose through the ranks in the industry and has since worked as a mobile food stall, taking the couple’s delicious Caribbean treats around the country. But the pandemic made them realize they wanted to pursue their dream of having a restaurant.

Caribbean Choice Restaurant at Coventry Caribbean Center on Spon Street

He said: “After Covid everything stopped, we decided to have a base from which we could cook and serve.”

And they’ll serve a range of homemade Caribbean dishes, with an English twist. Main menu highlights include goat curry, rice and peas, jerk chicken, shrimp fritters, ackee fritters and wings.

Desserts have an English influence, with treats like sticky toffee pudding, apple pie, and ice cream. They are currently fine-tuning the menu before the restaurant opens in a few weeks.

Caribbean Choice Dishes

The kitchen at the Caribbean Center in Coventry was vacant, so they pitched their menu to the board and moved in earlier this year. “[The restaurant] expresses our dreams and passions, Coventry has great representation, it would be great if we could put the city on the map,” said Gary.

“We bring something new to Coventry. This place is our passion, our dream,” he added. The couple, who met 14 years ago in the paint section of Wickes, now work full-time together on their business – and say it’s ‘amazing’ to work as a team.

Claudia said, “We live our best lives, we wake up before our alarm! We work together.”

There are warm touches inside the restaurant that honor the history and heritage of the community. For example, a showcase from Claudia’s mother’s living room sits proudly next to the tables. Warm placemats, décor and the Jamaican flag are also featured.

Caribbean Choice Dishes

Gary added that in everything they do they “keep it Coventry”. “We want to honor parts of Coventry’s history, source from the market and be influenced by 2-Tone,” he said.

The restaurant seats about 40 people, but it feels like you came for a meal at your family or friends house. The couple said they plan to officially open in the coming weeks while ironing out a few final start-up issues, but served food at a few events at the center to a warm welcome.

Opening hours of Caribbean Choice at Coventry Caribbean Center:



Wed 12pm – 8pm

Thu 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Fri 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Sat 6pm – 11pm

Sun 3pm – 7pm

Caribbean Choice will open on Friday, April 7.

The address is: 159 Spon Street, Coventry CV1

Michael M. Tomlin