An Afro-Caribbean restaurant has opened in a former pub in Ashford town centre, serving jerk chicken, curry goat and jollof rice.
Mum-of-three Janet Odeyale, known as Lady Jay, has turned the Old Prince of Wales pub into Jays Soul Food, offering a variety of Afro-Caribbean and West African cuisine.
The 19th century building had been boarded up since 2019 but today opened to the public with a grand opening and a ribbon cutting ceremony with Ashford mayor Cllr Callum Knowles (Con).
Ms Odeyale said: "It has been a lot of work getting this started but we are here now and it's fantastic.
"Most things have worked to plan but there are still more developments to come.
"In the future we will be getting the barbecue garden done and the outside dining area.
"We have a diverse range of Afro-Caribbean foods and delicacies from the islands and also Nigeria.
"Ashford is a diverse community and we want to represent that in our food and flavours.
"I'm pleased to bring something different to Ashford, if you look 25 miles away there is nothing like this and there is more to come like entertainment and live bands."
While the grand opening was today, Jays Soul Food has been serving takeaway through Just Eat for the past five weeks.
Ms Odeyale, a Hamstreet resident, has been cooking since she was 14 and has worked in the catering industry for more than 30 years.
She moved to the borough from Greenwich in 2006, and has been working on the historic spot since March 2021.
She was previously part of the Ashford Farmers’ Market and her catering business has a five-star food hygiene rating from Ashford Borough Council.
Ms Odeyale said she considered other sites in the town such as Elwick Place before snapping up the lease on the historic pub as it was ideal for her dream business.
The restaurant has room for around 80 guests but this can rise to 120 with the new outdoor barbecue area.