Thursday, May 30, 2024

Leimert Park legend Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine hopes to open Long Beach location in May

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After announcing their take-over of the former Cafe Piccolo space on Broadway in Alamitos Beach, the owners of Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine have said that, praying construction follows through as planned, the restaurant hopes to open in May.

“We are definitely looking forward to opening in Long Beach,” said owners Marlene Sinclair-Beckford and Delroy Beckford. “Though venue is under construction, it’s likely possible that the restaurant will open in May.”

Originally opening a small storefront in 2001, it was in 2005 when they moved to Leimert Park that Ackee began to become a well-known restaurant and staple to the Black community there.

“The main reason I wanted to open a restaurant—I’ve always wanted to do so—was to give the taste of a different culture, mainly the culture I grew up with in Jamaica,” Marlene said in an interview with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. “I found that I could not find those flavors, those tastes that I grew up with.”

The representation of Black food in Long Beach has dwindled along with the Black population itself—but for Blacks and non-Blacks alike throughout the city, the cuisines of the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-Latin America, and elsewhere are not only wanted locally but directly sought after in other cities.The talent of Marlene’s chops in the kitchen proved worthwhile: Soon enough, lines would form to try everything from her famed jerk chicken and fry dumplings—the latter she described as “bread geared towards wellness and love for our community, for our people; it’s not just about the issue of our skin color, it is about everyone eating from the same pot”—to ackee and salt fish and curry goat.

Long Beach’s Afro-Caribbean food scene has been everything but robust: After the closure of Callaloo on Anaheim (where Roundin’ 3rd currently is), there has been nothing minus small popups like Cherri’s Caribbean Kitchen last year holding down the fort for a cuisine that is largely considered a pillar of Black culture.

Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine will be located at 3222 E. Broadway.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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