HOUSTON – If you’ve been dreaming of an island getaway this summer, we have the next best thing. Chef Terron Henry at Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill is serving up fresh island flavors that’ll almost make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean. I hit the road with foodie friend and Houston Life Photographer Paul Shelton to soak up the island vibes tucked away in southwest Houston.
First and foremost, we needed some clarification on how to define the island vibe to newbies to Jamaican food and culture like ourselves.
“One of the traditions here in Jamaica is ‘No problem,‘” said Henry. “We want our guests to feel like they’re in the island area now. They’re in Jamaica - a very relaxed atmosphere.”
In addition to the food, beer and music are key components that contribute to the carefree feeling you get when dining at Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill.
“Of course, we turn the music up. We promote the Jamaican beer,” said Henry. “I think the music sells first, the food sells second.”
When we walked into Cool Runnings, one of the first things I noticed was the massive stage in the middle of the restaurant. Pre-pandemic, Cool Runnings hosted bands and musical entertainment for guests to jam out to while eating authentic Jamaican cuisine. The restaurant is also well known to celebrity guests with visits from Usain Bolt, Beenie Man and Ky-Mani Marley.
“We provide food for just about any and everybody coming through Houston,” said Henry.
And while I did dance A LOT while we were at Cool Runnings, I have to say I think the food still took center stage for me. From the curried shrimp to their famous oxtails, everything was jam-packed with flavor.
“I think the first way to describe Jamaican cuisine would be spicy,” said Henry. “Spicy doesn’t mean it’s always got to be hot, hot, hot. It’s just very flavorful.”
Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill is currently only open for takeout, so swing by for some food, grab some Red Stripe, crank up the music and let the island vibes wash over you.
For the full interview, watch the video above. To connect with Chef Terron Henry, visit the Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill website.