Caroline Coke | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Charlotte’s Central Avenue Corridor


Caroline Coke

Island Grocery & Restaurant

Caroline Coke, a former chemist turned entrepreneur, is co-owner of Island Grocery & Grill which she runs with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. Born in Jamaica in the parish of St. James, Ms. Coke grew up with a strong sense of family and community. When she moved to the United States at thirteen, she experienced what it was like to be away from the culture so deeply embedded into her being, away from her neighbors, and the village that raised her. In New Jersey, where she first moved, Ms. Coke found Jamaican enclaves with the comforts of home. She eventually settled in Charlotte, and once again sought out island comforts but could find none. To fill that need, she opened Island Grocery & Grill with her family and recreates the sights, sounds and smells of island life through food, music, and Caribbean staples.

Date of interview:

Keia Mastrianni

Peter Taylor

Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.