Ann-Marie and Blue Hibbert are bringing the flavors of Jamaica to South Hall.
Both native to the island country, the couple opened Blue’s Jamaican Restaurant on July 1, off Lanier Islands Parkway next to Coastal Breeze in Buford.
“We are cooking for our neighborhood, and we’d love for our neighbors to come in and meet us and taste the cuisine that we’re preparing,” Ann-Marie said.
The Hibberts, who co-own the restaurant, run it with two of their sons and their nephew. Ann-Marie said all the meals they prepare originate from family recipes.
The menu embraces authentic Jamaican cuisine with dishes including slow-cooked oxtail, jerk chicken, goat curry and fried plantains. Entrees range from $8 to $12, and the appetizers, pastries and sides come in at around 90 cents to $5.
For those who have never tried Jamaican food, Ann-Marie described it as “spicy with an array of different flavors.” She said thyme, jerk seasoning and Scotch bonnet peppers help contribute to its characteristic notes. Jerk seasoning typically consists of allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers.
Those who can’t take the true Jamaican heat can opt for less spicy versions of the dishes.
“People who haven’t gone to Jamaica, we want them to experience what it’s all about,” Ann-Marie said. “We do put a lot of passion into it.”
Both Ann-Marie and Blue spent their early childhood in Jamaica before immigrating to the U.S. with their families. The two first met while attending high school in New York City.
Before the Great Recession hit in 2008, the Hibberts were living in Maryland. Ann-Marie said they lost their home and decided to move to Georgia to live close to her sister. The two now reside in Braselton.
Ann-Marie said the idea to start their first restaurant in Hall County came when her husband launched his home-based business, Blue’s Jamaican Catering, two years ago. After witnessing the catering operation's success, the two kept their eyes open for potential restaurant locations in Buford and Braselton.
When a spot off Lanier Islands Parkway became available during the pandemic, Ann-Marie said they felt it was time to put their faith in God and take the plunge.
“It was scary because we were wrestling with the idea,” she said. “We didn’t know if it was a good time. We have strong Christian beliefs.”
Donning masks and spreading tables apart by at least 6 feet, Blue’s Jamaican Restaurant opened for business on July 1. And the Hibberts’ risk paid off.
“A lot of people came and said that they love what we’re cooking,” Ann-Marie said. “That’s just a passion and desire for me and my husband. We’re always cooking together.”
Blue’s Jamaican Restaurant is located at 5370 Lanier Island Parkway in Buford. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Blue’s Jamaican Restaurant
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday