Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine Owner Brings Fresh, Familiar Favorite Foods to Chandler
When Karen Francis took a trip to Arizona on vacation from New York City, she had no plans to open a restaurant. But with a taste of the Jamaican food offerings in the Valley, Francis said she knew she was going to bring authentic Jamaican food to the Valley.
“I had a bite to eat at this restaurant and I was like, ‘Mmm, no this is not authentic,'” said Francis. “They didn’t represent Jamaican cuisine properly. I thought I could do better.
In July 2008, she opened Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine in Chandler. Since then, the company has seen its customers stay loyal enough to allow the business to expand to include a food truck, which Francis says is still in high demand.
“We have amazing clients,” she said. “Some of them have been with us since we opened, and they are still there. I have seen children grow up that I have met in their mothers’ wombs and teenagers grow into adults.
Francis said customers have kept her afloat during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, especially as Governor Doug Ducey has limited dining inside and restricted take-out businesses only during part of the trip. summer. Barely a year since COVID-19 began to impact business, Francis said she was grateful for the people who continued to order her food.
“I was preparing for the worst,” she said. “I don’t know how we got so lucky. God must have sprinkled dust on us. They have supported me so much and I am very grateful to them for coming. People from Cave Creek came over and bought a bunch of food to make sure we stayed in business.
Food, Francis said, is what keeps people coming back. With traditional Jamaican dishes, Francis – who still spends some of his time in the kitchen – said the restaurant tries to keep it as pure and authentic as possible.
“It’s the thing you grow up on when you’re Jamaican,” Francis said. “We serve traditional jerk chicken; we make a whole red snapper; we do so much. It’s a very simple menu, but very tasty.