Updated: Sep 25, 2021
By Johanna Salinas
Jamaican Grill in Mangilao had a soft-opening with a grill lighting ceremony Sept. 22. Jamaican Grill's fourth location seeks to serve students and teachers of schools located in the village.
“We wanted to cater directly to the eight schools in Mangilao,” said, Jamaican Grill co-owner Frank Kenney. “We figured that sometimes professors and teachers might want to get out of the classroom to teach and instruct. So because we’re in the hospitality business we thought it'd be nice to develop an environment that’s very user-friendly for academia. That room is multipurpose. It can easily apply to businesses or nonprofits or parties or meetings.”
Inside, a mural by Ariel Dimalanta lists all Mangilao’s schools in a vibrant Jamaican street. Dimalanta’s mural depicts the restaurant’s Jamaican-Chamoru fusion Two Lovers Point in the background.
Besides school fundraisers and class parties, Kenney hopes to collaborate with the Mangilao students by designing an after-school menu just for the new location
“We located this branch here because we believe in this part of the island,” said Kenney. “We're going to develop an after-school menu. A menu valid from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. We want to get some of the students involved in the project. We want to do it here in Mangge’ Town Jamaican Grill for the students.”
The new 4,000 square-foot restaurant aims to serve the residents, students, and workers in Mångge’ Town (Mangilao) and the southern region of the island.
Jamaican Grill has been serving the island’s best barbecue for more than 25 years.
Owners Frank Kenney and Tim Murphy opened their first Jamaican Grill location in Hagatna in 1994 as the restaurant's only employees.
With the addition of the Mangilao location, Jamaican Grill now boasts four locations, which include Hagåtña in the Chamorro Village; Tumon across Pacific Islands Club; and Dededo in the Dededo Mall.
All locations are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for dine-in or takeout and from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. for takeout only.
“We continue to grow each year thanks to the support and loyalty from our community. Adding the new Mangilao location will make it easier for residents to enjoy their favorite Jamaican Grill dishes. Overall, we’re thrilled that we can better serve our customers throughout the island," Murphy said.
Jamaican Grill is best known for its Jerk barbecue, a traditional Jamaican way of cooking meat and seafood over an open fire. Its culinary team makes the food from scratch daily and uses the freshest fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms and authentic jerk seasoning imported from Jamaica. The result is a unique fusion of mouth-watering local and Jamaican flavors.
“Opening our Mangilao restaurant has been a labor of love for two years," Kenney said. " The pandemic struck after we began construction, but we pushed through because we believe that this location will be able to meet the needs of those who live, work or go to school in Mangilao and further south. Ya Mon, together we can!”
Kenney and Murphy designed the restaurant to resemble the unique and vibrant shacks of Jamaica -- fun, playful, and inviting. They worked with respected local artist Ariel Dimalanta to paint a dynamic mural that bridges the cultures of Jamaican and Guam. Much like the flavors in their food, the owners wanted the art and vibe to bring people together.
Jamaican Grill Mangilao was designed with a special feature – a private event space that can accommodate up to 30 people. The JG Student Shack comes equipped with free Wi-Fi, a 70-inch screen for presentations, and the same friendly service customers rely on.
“The new JG Student Shack is a great space for families, businesses, or schools to host small events like classes, meetings, or parties. Anyone interested in reserving the room can call the restaurant, and we will take good care of you,” Kenney said.
Jamaican Grill Mangilao is now open and welcomes customers to dine in or order take-out food online at jamaicangrill.com or through the Jamaican Grill app. Engage with Jamaican Grill on Facebook (@JamaicanGrillRestaurants) and Instagram (@JamaicanGrill).