Jamaican Danielle Terrelonge was born in Port Antonio but traveled to the United States to pursue an MBA degree. When she returned to the home island to take care of some paperwork in 2017, she decided she wanted to stay. When she needed a job she entered the corporate world on the island but quickly realized that it was not corporate America she disliked, but the whole institution of the corporate sector itself. So, she quit her corporate job and with the help of close friends realized that she should be doing things that bring her joy. This was when she decided to launch her eco-friendly and plant-based restaurant, The Plantry, in a cave. While the restaurant’s focus is on ethical and sustainable practices, it does not overly market itself as vegan. Instead, it relies on diners’ curiosity about its location and the unique dining experience it offers to attract business.
Terrelonge moved to Jamaica’s south coast in November of 2021 and completed the construction of her restaurant in January 2022. Since then, she said that Jamaicans from everywhere in the country have come to The Plantry, and she has even had celebrities like Protoje and Naomi Campbell visit. She believes people enjoy the “hidden garden” experience she offers, as well as the fact that every dining experience is customized to the client. Terrelonge adds that caves are vortexes that “transmute” energy, so people feel relaxed, at peace, and healed in the restaurant.
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When Terrelonge first moved to Jamaica, she did not find many eco-friendly, plant-based restaurants in operation, and she wanted to change that. She has found the response to her restaurant is often based on curiosity, and when she expanded from serving just dessert to main meals, a weekly special was featured. The first weekly special was prickly pear cactus, which grows wild on the island. Terrelonge wanted to showcase something that Jamaicans see every day, something familiar, but that could be perceived in a new way.
In addition to The Plantry, Terrelonge has launched Hmgrwn, an umbrella brand that includes the restaurant and other smaller brands she created. Hmgrwn brands include skincare and natural beauty products, “what goes on the outside,” as she says, while The Plantry’s focus is nourishing what is inside through eco-friendly, plant-based dining.
Photo – The Plantry