Two Jamaican Brothers Realize Their Dream & Open a Restaurant In Atlanta

Two Jamaican Brothers Realize Their Dream and Open a Restaurant In Atlanta

Two Jamaican brothers, Desrick and Alrick Smith, have realized a life-long dream and now have their own restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. The Spicy Hill restaurant – the name refers to the Spicy Hill district in Jamaica where their mother’s family was from – offers authentic Jamaican dishes with a touch of fusion that keeps diners coming back for more. Between them, the Smith brothers have over 25 years of culinary and hospitality experience and have received numerous accolades and awards.

When COVID-19 hit in the early part of 2020, and Desrick and Alrick were furloughed from their jobs, they decided the time was right to pursue their own interests. They began scouting for a location for their new dining endeavor in September of 2020 and ultimately found the perfect spot in Jonesboro, Georgia. While the brothers put their culinary skills to good use in the kitchen, their wives worked alongside them, handling most of the front-of-the-house and administrative duties. The virus pandemic put a damper on some of their plans, but they persevered and successfully opened the doors of Spicy Hill to the public in January 2021.

Desrick Smith was born in October 1978, and his brother Alrick was born in December 1979 in Clarkstown, Trelawny, Jamaica. They were raised in a large family, and their parents ensured that all their children were educated, attended church, and were kept busy with a variety of activities. The brothers developed a love for the Spicy Hill district where they enjoyed riding pushcarts with their friends to gather and enjoy the abundant fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs that grew in the region. They can still remember the smell and taste of the fresh and juicy produce that inspired their passion for cooking.

Ackee and Saltfish Spring Rolls

Ackee and Saltfish Spring Rolls

Both Desrick and Alrick displayed an interest in the culinary arts while still in their teens. They were literally “head cook and bokkle washer” when they would “run boats” with their friends, always doing all the prepping and cooking for whatever was on the menu. They ultimately entered the Heart Trust Academy to begin their formal culinary education and training and began their history of achieving top-level awards and accolades. Following their success at the Heart Trust Academy, both brothers landed impressive positions: Desrick at The Wyndham and Ritz-Carlton in Montego Bay, and Alrick at Grand Lido Braco, Bahia Principe in Discovery Bay, and Runaway Bay, Jamaica.

After spending several years in Jamaica, the brothers decided to travel to the United States to find more advanced opportunities. Desrick moved to New York City where he created and crafted menus for several famous restaurants, while Alrick spent 16 years honing his skills as a top-quality pastry chef on the Disney Cruise Lines. When braving the cold winters in the Northeast, Desrick and his wife Deon moved their family south to Atlanta, Georgia. Alrick and his wife Coretta soon joined them with their family, and the brothers began opening new restaurants, lounges, prestigious hotels, and prominent establishments until the COVID-19 pandemic changed their plans.

Saltfish Fritters - Two Jamaican Brothers Realize Their Dream and Open a Restaurant In Atlanta

Saltfish Fritters

The menu at Spicy Hill offers something delightful for everyone who enjoys freshly cooked, tasty Jamaican cuisine with impeccable presentation and service. The restaurant provides catering services, and private and semi-private events are available within the boundaries of COVID 19 protocols. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and welcomes all families. Patrons with food allergies or restrictions can request special accommodations with proper notice. The brothers plan to hold events like karaoke nights and live music on designated nights in the very near future.

Diners have been impressed with Spicy Hill and have turned in very positive reviews. Kelli Maxwell Wynter wrote in a Facebook review, “I had the most delicious dinner tonight at Spicy Hill restaurant. Food was soooo sweet, I could lick the plate. The presentation was beautiful, and the service was excellent. If anyone is in search of authentic Jamaican cuisine, go check out this spot right here!!”

And according to Alexis M. Bryson, “The food was great! My daughter had salmon and I had jerk chicken. It was full of flavor and just the right portion. The server was very friendly, and the chefs came out and spoke to us. It was an amazing experience. Excellent!!”

Photos by: Melanie Daley

About the author

Stephanie Korney