Paintings of flowers hang on the yellow and blue walls, a rich smell comes from the kitchen and lingers over the dining room.
Two women move about the kitchen, preparing handmade Caribbean meals for their customers. Gabrielle Long, owner of Taste of Bim calls it “a piece of home away from home.” Taste of Bim has been serving dishes from Long’s island country of Barbados since 2015. Long came to the United States from Barbados when she was 16, bringing her culture and recipes with her.
Currently, Long and her team run the main Taste of Bim location in Eureka, a Taste of Bim food truck for catering events and The Grind Cafe, a coffee shop in Eureka. Recently, a new Taste of Bim location opened at Cal Poly Humboldt’s College Creek Marketplace on Feb. 2.
Long looks to keep her businesses moving forward one day at a time.
Food from the land
She shared that these foods come from a culture of making meals with what was in the neighborhood. Cooking with ingredients from the neighbor’s tree or backyard.
These flavors and traditions are a long way from home, but they find a way to connect to the community anyway. Long explained that some people were unfamiliar with the dishes at first, but the flavors would win people over once they tried it.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Long and her mother, Verna Long, kept the restaurant running with to go orders only.
“It was a challenge at first, we had to get a lot of prep done ahead of time to make the process easier,” Long said. “We had the love of the community behind us.”
Growing community with new locations
At her newest Taste of Bim location at the College Creek Marketplace, students can purchase select items from the original Taste of Bim menu.
Dillon Harp, an employee at the new Taste of Bim, said that working there made him feel connected to his culture. Harp has family in the Caribbean and said it felt natural to work there with food that he knew.
Harp shared that he sees Long as a beautiful example of Black excellence and Black female leadership.
Debbie Lennox, a waitress of six years at Taste of Bim’s main location in Eureka, said while working as a waitress for 35 years, this is her favorite job she’s ever had. She loves working with Taste of Bim and is happy to see Long open new restaurants around Humboldt.
Some of the most popular dishes at the Taste of Bim location are jerk wings, island style fried chicken, and the different curries they offer.
People can visit Taste of Bim’s main location at 613 3rd Street in Eureka and the Grind Cafe at 734 5th St in Eureka.