Gar & Mar serves up Jamaican fare to Berea residents in former Campus Grill building

“The food service is very quick, plus the food is very affordable for a big meal. I would absolutely recommend this to BW students,” said junior exercise science major Neveah Tshiwala.


Anabelle Wilford, The Exponent

Gar & Mar, a Jamaican restaurant owned by husband and wife Garry and Nadette “Maria” James-Lawson, opened in Berea in July.

It was just last year that Baldwin Wallace students and Berea residents said goodbye to local hot spot Campus Grill.But this July a new restaurant, Gar & Mar, took its place, serving authentic Jamaican cuisine.  

The restaurant, named after its owners, married couple Garry and Nadette “Maria” James-Lawson, opened on July 4 at 10 Seminary St., the building which formerly housed the Latin and Puerto Rican restaurant Campus Grill.   

Neveah Tshiwala, a junior exercise science major, said she would recommend Gar & Mar to other students because of the service and affordability.   

“The food service is very quick, plus the food is very affordable for a big meal,” Tshiwala said. “I would absolutely recommend this to BW students.”   

Compared to Campus Grill, Tshiwala said Gar & Mar is a better deal.  

“I think Campus Grill was good, but it was a little pricey,” Tshiwala said. “However, both restaurants have brought a different culture of food to BW dining for students and the community.”  

Mr. Lawson previously cooked for Jamaican restaurants in Florida and Jamaica. He uses the recipes he learned during those experiences at Gar & Mar, while continuing to grow his  

passion for cooking.  

“My job caused me to move here to the area, so he would commute here from Florida for years,” Mrs. Lawson said.  “One day, he was looking around the town and said ‘Hey, there’s not a lot of Jamaican restaurants in the area. Maybe we should open our own.’ And so here we are, Gar & Mar was born.”   

According to its owners, Berea has given the new restaurant a warm welcome.  

“We love it, everyone has been very welcoming and grateful,” Mrs. Lawson said. “The people here are awesome.”   

The main dining room is spacious and decorated in the colors of the Jamaican flag, with green, yellow and black paint across the walls. The restaurant has a sizable television so that patrons can watch sports while they eat their food.  

“The atmosphere at Gar & Mar is very chill – not super crowded or overwhelming.” Tshiwala said. “The staff are amazing and happy to recommend their favorite meals.”   

Mrs. Lawson herself also recommends certain dishes.   

“New customers should definitely order the jerk chicken or the oxtail. They are Garry’s specialty,” she said.  

Along with the jerk chicken and oxtail, Gar & Mar serves foods like curried goat, other jerk style meats such as pork and beef patties wrapped in a crispy breading. They also serve various salads, stews, pasta and classic Jamaican breakfasts.  

Tshiwala ordered the dinner special of jerk chicken, cabbage and mixed rice with peas.   

“The food was absolutely delicious and filling,” Tshiwala said.