By Tommia Hayes
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
The cold overcast days of February can make people long for a trip someplace warm and sunny. Many people may not know that they can take a quick trip to Caribbean Paradise in East Durham to get a taste of the islands.
The restaurant, owned by Lydia Joseph Dujour and Ralph Dujour, first opened its doors in August 2009. Both are originally from Trinidad and Tobago.
The family chose to open the first Caribbean restaurant in NECD because they believed it was long overdue.
“We are proud to be the only authentic Caribbean restaurant in northeastern Durham,” said Dujour. “We are looking forward to the growth of our community.”
Trinidadians are an ethnically diverse group and the cuisine equally reflects that diversity by having European, African, Chinese, Indian and Creole influences.
“People tend to think Caribbean is hot and spicy, but that isn’t always the case” said Dujour.
The Caribbean spices Joseph Dujour uses are either made by herself, imported from Trinidad and Tobago, or purchased some from Los Primos Supermarket in NECD.
“On a scale of 1-10 the food is a 20,” said Arthur Lyons of Durham. “The service is excellent and I strongly recommend the peanut punch and oxtails.”
Loleithia Underdue, general manager of AudioNet at N.C. Central University, tried the food when it was catered at an event. She recommends the jerk chicken.
“We get a lot of support from our fellow business members from establishments such as Sam’s Barber shop, Friendship Fellowship Community, Rose Body Shop and many more,” said Joseph Dujour.
The Dujours are thankful for the support they have received from the community because opening the restaurant was a time-consuming process.
According to Joseph Dujour, the family had to save many pennies in order to get this business started. She wasn’t always a restaurant owner.
After moving to Durham from New York in 1989, Joseph Dujour and her husband began selling food from a van. Since they knew that it was illegal, restaurant ownership became their immediate goal.
After saving money, they finally got the landlords permission to rent the building. Unfortunately it needed a lot of work before it would be suitable. They put many hours of labor fixing the restaurant with the help of a homeless guy they call MacGyver and her children Warkarki and Malik.
“We turned trash into a treasure – or a paradise – in our case,” said Joseph Dujour.
“Lydia has been catering many ceremonies at Williams Square Apartments and it is because people keep requesting the food,” said Brian Marsh, property manager.
Although business is slow at times, they plan on staying in NECD. In fact, they hope that they can use this business to get a loan to buy the building.
Their dreams include opening future businesses such as a Laundromat and a youth center in order to build on the positive things that have been going on in NECD recently.
The Caribbean Paradise is located at 2022 Angier Ave. Their prices range from $3 to $15 and they also have catering services (call 919- 519-0151).
The restaurant is open Monday thru Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
On Wednesday and Thursdays they offer a 10% discount to college students who show a student ID.