Armed with entrepreneurial drive, Adrian Simpson recently opened Wah Gwaan Diner in downtown White Sulphur Springs that’s Jamaican us hungry at Hashtag Lewisburg! This is a Jamaican fusion restaurant serving up all your Caribbean favorites. If you’re not familar with the phrase, “Wah Gwaan” it is a Jamaican greeting when meeting people. Jamaicans regularly use the phrase ‘wahgwan’ as if to say what’s good, you cool? what’s going on? “wahgwan bruv?” The food can be described as different cuisines coming together to make one cohesive dish. For instance, Adrian takes American classics and fuses them with Jamaican flavors. These dishes stand out from other types of foods because of their combination of spices to achieve a flavorful meal. All of the dishes include appetizing sides such as rice, yams, plantains, potatoes, and so much more.
Cooking since the age of 12, Adrian’s life-long dream was to open a restaurant. He immigrated to the United States from Jamaica when he was 20 years old, in March of 2013. Adrian tells us he was inspired to open his restaurant because he found a deficiency in the diversity of food in Greenbrier County. He says, “This was a great way of achieving my dream and providing the community with a taste of what I lived and enjoyed for years.” Adrian goes onto tell us that he loves Jamaican food because he finds that it is a mixture of several cuisines infused to create one delicious melting pot. He enjoys the mixture of spices and the lasting taste you’re left with in your mouth.
Adrian’s diner officially opened on July 24th 2017 and the positive response has been overwhelmingly receptive. “We knew we had a good product so we just went for it and people keep coming back for more of the food and the overall experience,” says Adrian. He’s tells us that also very surprised as to how many people are willing to try their food, because of how spicy some items may be. Overjoyed with the support from the local community and people who are traveling to his diner from Charleston, Beckley, and Princeton, Adrian says, “I want to thank everyone for their support and allowing me to live my dream.”
We asked Adrian what his favorite dish is and he tells us that he doesn’t really have a favorite. “When I came up with the menu I only included my favorite items. But if I had to choose one, it is the curry goat served with rice and beans and ripe plantains is my favorite,” says Adrian. He also tells us the most popular dish is the coconut curry shrimp. It’s shrimp, onion, and bell peppers cooked in coconut milk, and served with rice and seasonal vegetables. Adrian says this has been a major hit and surprisingly, the oxtail and beans are very popular as well. So what else is on the menu? Here is a list of some dishes!
Some appetizers are the loaded jerk chicken cheese fries; jerk pork or chicken quesadilla; tacos served with beef, chicken, pork, or fish; dry jerk rub wings, which come in a variety of flavors including jerk bbq, hot, mild, bbq, sweet, chili pineapple, or sweet chili. There’s an island salad that has mixed greens, cucumber, strawberries, orange, and toasted almond. There’s three types of handcrafted burgers, the most popular being the Tropical Burger which is an all beef burger topped with grilled onions, sweet pineapple chili sauce, bacon, jalapenos, and white american cheese. The Smokehouse Jerk Burger (pictured above and on the cover) is an all beef burger topped with a jerk bbq sauce, onion rings, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and swiss cheese.
Onto the sandwiches… the Spice Island Chicken Sandwich is a buffalo fried chicken with bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion; the Jam Dung Hoagie is a 6” sub pulled pork or chicken grilled onion and green peppers, swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato; and the fried/grilled fish sandwich which is a seasonal fish cooked to perfection and includes spicy mayo, lettuce, and tomato.
The sides are plentiful and include sweet potato fries; French fries; sautéed vegetables; mashed potatoes; pasta salad; plain white rice; fried ripe plantains; and rice and peas. The diner also serves desserts, sundaes, smoothies, and milkshakes.
Spice things up this Fall and check out Wah Gwaan Diner. They are located at 687 E. Main Street. For more information, follow them @wahgwaandiner on facebook and instagram. Hours are Mon-Sat 11:30am-11pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Call them at 304-956-2600.
– HashtagWV September 2017
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.