From a young age, chef Wesley Campbell would watch, rapt, as his parents made jerk chicken and pork, steamed fish, and fried chicken at their restaurant in Jamaica. Realizing that this was his calling, he began his career as a prep chef at the age of 16 at the five-star Half Moon resort in Jamaica, where he was quickly promoted to head chef. By age 20, Wesley was offered the executive-chef position––which he turned down. His real aspirations were to start a restaurant in America.
In the time since, chef Wesley has been nominated to represent his country in the International Culinary Olympics competition, and traveled to the United States to hone his skills at four Washington, DC, restaurants. Today, he blends Jamaican, American, and continental preparations into the menu at Mo-Bay Grill, whose dynamic flavor profiles have earned the eatery four palms from Florida Today.
In its dining room, decor details such as palm-tree wall murals and wooden wind chimes evoke “an afternoon by a tiki hut on the beach of Montego Bay,” according to a 2006 review in Hometown News. As island music swoons over the speakers, servers ferry in authentic Jamaican dishes such as baked jerk chicken, apple-glazed pork chops, and hearty stews of oxtail, vegetables, and beef. Afterward, guests can dunk forks into desserts such as banana-rum cheesecake, which gives meals cheesy finishes without quizzing servers about their favorite knock-knock jokes.:m]]
Cultivating familial vibes is easy for chef Luis, as his clan joins him in the kitchen daily. Blanca, Tracie, Arleen, and the rest of the Las Palmas entourage invite patrons to taste the tropics through a diverse menu of authentic Cuban dishes. Sautéed chicken, pork, and ham insulate an array of pressed cuban sandwiches served with fries that are the perfect size for mending holes in bowling balls. Entrees flaunt piles of slow-cooked shredded steak as well as fresh, pan-seared fish flanked by sides such as sweet plantains, black beans, and yucca.
At the end of a pier in Sebastian and along the waterfront in Melbourne, Squid Lips sates appetites for seafood and views of the ocean or Indian River Lagoon. At the Sebastian eatery, the kitchen team at each location grills everything over a taste-infusing oak-wood fire, including Cajun bacon-wrapped sea scallops and flounder stuffed with lobster and crab meat. As boats and buoys bob in the nearby water, guests can enjoy seafood enchiladas and a bar replete with a variety of fancy drinks.
At the Melbourne eatery, the staff also welcomes guests to enjoy delectable sea fare while wriggling toes in the sand or dining on the patio beachside. There's even a raw bar, where guests sample oysters, clams, and peel-and-eat shrimp. With nearly all senses attended to, they complete the experience with live-music sound waves that pierce the air nightly in Melbourne and on weekends in Sebastian.