I AM CARIBBEING celebrates Caribbean American Heritage Month and Juneteenth, honors Little Caribbean small businesses

Bake and Things, from left: Grenadian Antoinette Alexander-Saffian, Jamaican Patricia Davidson and Trinidadian Vianny Bishop.
Photo by Nelson A. King

I AM CARIBBEING last Thursday honored local businesses, entrepreneurs and  neighborhood gems in Brooklyn during its 2nd Annual Best of Little Caribbean Awards in marking Caribbean-American Heritage Month and Juneteenth celebrations.

Shelley Worrell, the Trinidadian-American chief executive officer and founder of Little Caribbean in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life that the gala event, at Prospect Park Boathouse in Brooklyn, brought together restaurants, business owners and supporters to “celebrate their success and honor the best in Caribbean cuisine, culture and community.”

Awards, citations and proclamations were presented to over two dozen “deserving small businesses from Central Brooklyn and beyond,” Worrell said, adding: “We wanted to create something that’s lasting in the community.

“The community has spoken, with nearly 6,000 votes cast, to recognize the best in categories like Best Jerk, Best Curry, Best Patty, Best Influencer, Best Local Attraction and more,” Worrell continued.

Several elected officials, as well as Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers, attended the gala, lauding Worrell and her organization for the initiative.

“So much talent has come out of the Caribbean community,” Peers told the ceremony, disclosing that he was raised in East Flatbush and that his wife is from the Caribbean.

“The impact of the Caribbean culture has on me is profound,” he added. “There’s very few communities that’s excelled in commerce and left their impact than in the Caribbean.”

In praising Worrell, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, said: “We’re one Caribbean. I want to congratulate Shelley Correll. I’m very excited about what Litte Caribbean is doing for the community.

“Congratulations for all the Caribbeans in the community,” he said.

Shelley Worrell with St. Lucia Consul General Jeremiah Hyacinth, left, and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers.
Shelley Worrell with St. Lucia Consul General Jeremiah Hyacinth, left, and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers. Photo by Nelson A. King

Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, the Haitian-born representative for the 46th Council District in Brooklyn, thanked Worrell for “the work you’re doing for the community. It’s a pleasure to be here.

“Being a business woman in this town, I’ve been fighting for everything when it comes to entrepreneurship,” she added.

The long list of honorees for 1st Place and category was: Allan’s Bakery, Best Bakery; Scoops, Best Ice Cream/Dessert; Peppas Jerk Chicken, Best Jerk; Tastee Pattee, Best Patty; Ali’s Roti Shop, Best Roti and Doubles; Caribbean Vibes Jamaican Restaurant & Bakery, Best Oxtail; Aunts et Uncles, Best Ital/Juice Bar; Aunts et Uncles, Best Vibes/Customer Service; and The Rogers Garden, Best Bar/Lounge/Cocktails.

The others were: Mr. P’s Homemade Ice Cream, Best New Business; Prospect Park, Best Local Attraction; Bake & Things, Best Curry; Labay Market, Best Retail Store/Market; Helena Faustin, Best Influencer/Socialite; BunNan, Best Plantain-Based Dish; DJ Danglez, Best DJ; Island Love Cakes, Best Online Business; JAMROCK JERK, Best Mobile Food Vendor; and TrinCiti Roti Shop, Best Overall.

2nd Place: Errol’s Caribbean Bakery, Best Bakery; Mr. P’s Homemade Ice Cream, Best Ice Cream/Dessert; Jimbo Jerk, Best Jerk; Allan’s Bakery, Best Patty; Bake & Things, Best Roti and Doubles; CJ Caribbean Cuisine & Café, Best Oxtail; Veggies Natural Juice Bar & Café,  Best Ital/Juice Bar; Footprints Café, Best Vibes/Customer Service; SUGAR’D, Best Bar/Lounge/Cocktails; Hibiscus Brew, Best Café; Kreyol Flavor, Best Rice; and Sweet Catch,  Best Seafood.

Others were: Afrika House Event Center, Best Venue/Space; Braided New York Salon, Best Salon/Barbershop/Spa; Fe Noel Little Caribbean, Best New Business; Smorgasburg, Best Local Attraction; Trini Breakfast Shed II; Best Curry; Fe Noel Little Caribbean, Best Retail Store/Market; The Brooklyn Mavens, Best Influencer/Socialite; Blueline Fry Plantain, Best Plantain Based Dish; DJ Khalil, Best DJ; 84Gem, Best Online Business; Trini Bites NY, Best Mobile Food Vendor; and Sugarcane BK, Best Overall.

The mother and son Vincentian team at Lips Café said: “We appreciate you. Without you, we wouldn’t be standing here accepting the award.”

Christian Smith, grandson of Allan Smith, the founder of Allan’s Bakery, told Caribbean Life briefly afterwards: “We really appreciate everyone.”

Worrell said Little Caribbean, established in 2017, is “home to the largest and most diverse Caribbean-American-LatinX community outside of the West Indies, making up 20 percent of New York City.

“This thriving community is a hub for Caribbean/Black-owned businesses, cultural expression and community development,” she said.

Since 2010, Worrell said I AM CARIBBEING has “amplified this community’s voice and will continue to commemorate the history of the Caribbean Diaspora in New York City and beyond.”