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BLOG-The Calypso Grill Opens

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The day has come. We were woke by an early morning phone call. We let the answering machine pick up. Mario Basora’s voice echoed through the house reassuring us that we could sleep in.

I looked up from my pillow. Outside a spring snow had painted the dogwood tree white. The delicate detail of its limbs now rendered in monotone relief.

The irony of this new fallen snow is that it landed on the opening day of a West Indian experience…The Calypso Grill.

The altered arc of the day…a snow day for the kids, a three hour delay for myself…settled into an ease. Our commitments for the day diminished to one of great import. Arrive early evening for jerk chicken and rum cocktails at 1535 Xenia Avenue.

We arrived within the first thirty minutes to a full parking lot immediately grateful for the easy walk from our south side home. The bar had four open seats so we clamored on board and ordered drinks. The kids got smoothies; the adults ordered water and the rum flight.

The waitstaff stood aside the bar where it separated kitchen from dining area. Happy, familiar faces from the experienced village hospitality sector, still they looked as if they were collectively holding their breath. Would the village fall in love with this quirky cuisine inspired by an island food cart?

The grill is located on an island itself…a once deserted food venue over a dozen blocks set off from downtown Yellow Springs. It is resides in a neighborhood—part business, part apartment and single home residences—hungry for a juicy joint of our own. Our crowd is feverish for mixed drinks, good service, and sustained success.

We think the Calypso Grill and Smokehouse has found the right recipe here. Sitting at the bar we watched a variety of refreshing beverages shaken, blended, poured, and garnished by a friendly attentive crew.

We were never at a loss…well attended and well fed. And in good company. The empanadas—filled to order with beef, chicken or beans—arrived early. We ordered another round of the pleasing hand-held pies and accompaning dips. My pork belly was a lovely piece of meat and the kids’ chicken disappeared as they ate with gusto. Around us, I checked in with folks who had come to check out the vegan and gluten free dishes finding them happy and content.

We lingered in fact that first night relinquishing our spot at the bar to others as the sunset over our island of bliss.

From appetizers to entries to desserts, the meal was a satisfying journey. We looked back at that spot as we have many times over the last decade. This time with pride and warm hearts. My husband often suggested that a donut shop would do well here. Now that I’ve tasted the grill’s banana fritters, I must agree. Yes. Donuts with a side of jerk chicken and slaw.


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