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New Caribbean restaurant about to go Lyve (4 photos)

Jamaican patties stuffed with lettuce, cheese, tomato and jerk chicken is a specialty of Lyve Caribbean Kitchen, which opens Friday

Downtown Guelph is about to get jerkier.

Lyve Caribbean Kitchen is grab-and-go style restaurant that will begin serving up stuffed Jamaican patties, jerk chicken, oxtail and other staples of West Indies cuisine starting Friday on Macdonell St.

Owner Philip DeWar said his recipes are traditional dishes he grew up cooking and eating in Kingston, Jamaica that have been modernized with techniques he learned in culinary school.

“The food speaks for itself,” said DeWar.

Lyve opens Friday in Guelph as a scaled-down grab-and-go version of DeWar’s 130-seat Soulyve Caribbean Kitchen in Orangeville.

The restaurant takes over the space formerly occupied by Who Gives A Schnitz on Macdonell.

Soulyve’s jerk chicken and power patties were featured on a 2013 episode of Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, which DeWar said created a lot of buzz for the restaurant.

“People saw that and they were coming in from Kitchener, Cambridge, Toronto and Mississauga to see what it was all about,” said DeWar.

Some have been skeptical about finding good Jamaican food in Orangeville, said DeWar, but he believes Soulyve competes toe-to-to with jerk chicken served in the Greater Toronto Area.

Power patties consist of Jamaican patties that are sliced in half and stuffed with ingredients.

Lyve’s classic version of the power patty is stuffed with lettuce, tomato, cheese and jerk chicken and topped with the restaurant’s signature Cajun mayonnaise.

Tyler Conium, Soulyve and Live general manager, said the Jamaican patties are completely transformed after adding the ingredients.

“As soon as you put the lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and cheese — when it’s inside a pastry — it’s just got that much more richness. It brings a whole different flavour,” said Conium.

Soulyve began about eight years ago when DeWar served Jamaican food at the farmer’s market in Orangeville and grew in that town to the 130-seat restaurant.

Expanding to Guelph was the next logical step, said DeWar.

“For us it’s a launchpad to test the Guelph market,” he said of the scaled-down Lyve concept.

Lyve has been open for lunch service this week as a soft launch, but will officially open its doors Friday.

Although Lyve will be a grab-and-go version of the larger Soulyve, Conium said people who love the Orangeville restaurant will feel right at home on Macdonell St.

“We’re still cooking the same jerk chicken we always have, making our own rice and peas, making our own coleslaw. All the ingredients that are going into the patty are fresh every day,”

DeWar said Guelph seemed like a good fit.

“Downtown Guelph has a unique culture. We like that there is a lot of independent businesses rocking the downtown. We look forward to getting to know our neighbours,” he said.