Meet Caroline Coke

Island Grocery and Caribbean Restaurant’s Caroline Coke and her sister in Charlotte, NC. Photo by Peter Taylor.

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 landed, Ms. Coke found Jamaican enclaves with the comforts of home.

Jerk chicken and sides at Island Grocery in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Peter Taylor.

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.

Find Caroline’s whole story here, and explore more Central Avenue stories from Charlotte here.