First of its kind VITAL Restaurant, a family-owned Jamaican restaurant in Northern New Jersey specializing in vegan-friendly cuisine, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Sibling operators Kwame, Nataki and Kanika Williams, introduced an expanded menu that infuses the freshest ingredients with unique flavor and are building upon their success in the competitive Montclair dining scene.
Inspired by the traditional Jamaican “Ital” diet, VITAL is committed to a healthy lifestyle, believing that food nourishes the mind, body and soul. Executive Chef Kwame Williams combines his thirteen years of experience and Ital philosophies to create vibrant, flavorful dishes that provide innovative new takes on traditional Jamaican staples. Classically trained at The Institute of Culinary Education, his food was awarded the only four stars in the last decade by New Jersey Monthly while at Ryland Inn. Kwame prides himself in cooking and preserving food at its most natural state which he honed at The Bernards Inn — helping them win the Gold Plate Award from the New Jersey Restaurant Association. His other distinctions have been with Pleasantdale Chateau, Highlawn Pavillion, and New York City’s renowned restaurant, Minton’s.
As Vital turns “one”, its menu has expanded to deliver more tasty and unique dishes including the jerk portabella and curried cauliflower as well as innovative takes on traditional Jamaican staples including escovitched fish, braised oxtail and curry goat. No meal is complete without the Vital hummus, made with black-eyed peas and hemp seeds and served with crispy plantain chips.
Kwame’s inspired cooking delights palates coupled with Nataki’s warm smile and easy demeanor makes each diner feel like part of the family. Both have worked hard to transform the space into a casual dining escape, with gentle reggae beats that transport diners to the Caribbean. The overall effect at VITAL creates an occasion for vegans, meat-lovers, gluten-free, pescatarians and paleo diet followers alike to eat together again and again.
Complementing the dining experience, live music can be heard spilling out of the restaurant doors every other Friday night. VITAL will continue to provided diners with a line-up of soulful jazz, reggae, rock and hip-shaking R&B.