Sweetfingers Jamaican Restaurant
Chef Clive opened Sweet Fingers as an homage to his grandmother, Aunt Lu, who taught him about food, hospitality, and perseverance. He spent his early years in Jamaica learning recipes and life lessons in her kitchen after she took over her husband's fruit-selling business following his death. Building on that robust culinary education and inspired start, Clive moved to New York City at age 18 and went on to graduate from culinary school.
Eventually he worked his way up to the role of supervising chef during a 10-year career at the Marriott hotel. But his career’s turning point came in 2003, when he relocated to California and met the woman who would become his wife. That’s when the pair founded Sweet Fingers, giving locals a bar and eatery that now shines a light on Aunt Lu's recipes and the love she taught Clive to cook with.
By all accounts, Chef Clive has done his grandmother proud. Matthew Stafford of the East Bay Express praised the "juicy" jerk chicken and "creamy" fried plantains, adding that "the escovitch-style snapper, curry goat, brown stew chicken, and braised oxtail are uniformly rich, spiky, and tantalizing." Inside, the yellow and royal blue walls boast Jamaican flags and pictures of the island, and the bar serves a large assortment of cocktailsthat are no less colorful. Patrons also flock to the cozy spot for entertainment that includes live reggae, as well as open-mic nights filled with poetry and music, which often consists of impromptu compositions about intense feelings for the food.