Chiamaka "Chi-Chi" Kalu knows she has a lot riding on the jerk chicken at Red Pepper Caribbean Bar & Grill, a new restaurant in Columbus' Northland neighborhood.

The Jamaican classic starts with habanero peppers and a number of dry ingredients blended into a smooth paste.

"It's really hot," said Kalu, noting that a mild version also is available.

The chicken, marinated overnight, is grilled or broiled, per a customer's request. It is one of numerous island specialties at Red Pepper, 1748 E. Dublin-Granville Road.

The sweet-and-salty house-made jerk seasoning is used in numerous applications, including the burger, chicken wings, shrimp and barbecue ribs.

Other island fare includes curry goat, braised oxtails, Trinidad-style salt-fish fritters, homemade Jamaican meat pies and grilled whole snapper. The menu also includes a Cuban sandwich and a Caribbean-style crab boil.

Most entrees are $10 to $20.

Fans of Caribbean cuisine will recognize many of the sides: rice and peas (kidney beans are often referred to as "peas" in the Caribbean), fried plantains and callaloo -- spinach, onions, garlic and red and green peppers.

"A lot of the items you see you just won't find in just any restaurant," Kalu said.

Red Pepper is a follow-up to Kalu's carryout of the same name at 1584 Kohr Place.

"One of the biggest complaints from customers (of the carryout) was there was no seating, no place to sit and eat," she said.

That doesn't appear to be a problem at the full-service restaurant, which seats 299.

Kalu said Red Pepper is a family affair, with her mother, Benedette "Miss B" Ngene-Igwe, lending her skill and recipes at the restaurant.

"I always liked being in the kitchen with my mother," Kalu said. "And she knows how to cook."

Kalu's sister, Ifeoma Ngene-Igwe, also works in the kitchen.

A nurse practitioner by education, Kalu plans to open an office, also in Northland, with partners while remaining active at the restaurant, she said.

"This is just something fun," she said. "I love to cook. I love to put things together."

Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. The bar is open later, and live music was expected to be introduced last week.

For more information, call 614-437-9064.


Jubilee Market & Feed, a combination grocery store and prepared-foods outlet, is scheduled to open this spring in Columbus' Franklinton neighborhood.

The store is taking over a portion of the Lower Lights Christian Health Center at 1160 W. Broad St.

Jubilee will specialize in affordable fresh produce, dairy products, meats and other grocery items, as well as ready-made meals and baked goods prepared by Graze and Milo's Catering, respectively, both owned by Louie Pappas and Demetra Stefanidis.

Those with an income of less than 200 percent of poverty guidelines will have the opportunity to pay a reduced rate for their purchases.

Pappas said his businesses would provide hot and cold self-serve stations, grab-and-go meals and some items grilled to order. Jubilee also will have coffee and fountain drinks and cafe seating.

Lower Lights employees will run the store side of the business, which will be on the first floor of the complex. Graze and its offerings will be on the second floor.

Graze on Capitol Square, a related quick-casual concept, will remain in the Statehouse, Pappas said.


House Wine is doubling its presence with an expansion that will serve Bexley.

Donnie Austin, owner of the original location in Old Worthington, said his new wine shop is expected to open in February at 2262 E. Main St.

The 1,100-square-foot store will offer retail wines and craft beer, as well as wines by the ounce or glass delivered by the Enomatic wine-dispensing system.