Let’s Get Together: One Love’s Jamaican cuisine

. January 1, 2021.
New Project (8)

Powerful and delicious flavors abound at a newly-opened restaurant named after a well known Bob Marley tune. On Central Ave., in the former site of the Toledo International Market next to Keta’s Antiques, One Love Jamaican Restaurant offers terrific Caribbean cuisine at very reasonable prices.

“What sets it apart is really the taste,” said George Cross, One Love owner. “As Jamaicans, we are particular about the taste that we bring to the public. The taste comes from the seasonings used on the different meats. That really brings out the flavor.”

1-1 CHOWLINE 4One heart
Cross vouches for the authenticity of every item on the menu. Though he’s lived in Toledo for 30 years,  he was born in Jamaica.  While love for his homeland’s flavors has never swayed, George’s wife, Marlene Chybar-Cross, spearheaded the idea that would become One Love Jamaican Restaurant. “We started from home, actually preparing meals for different individuals. We’d prepare the meal, and they’d come and pick it up. And we started from there, until we were able to accumulate the funds to get a place.”

The couple eventually found the restaurant’s location, and owned it for nearly a year before finally opening on October 28. Marlene does all the cooking, while George helps out with cleaning, dishes and more. 

1-1 CHOWLINE 2Sayin’ give thanks
One Love wears its big Jamaican heart on its sleeve. The decor of the interior is almost entirely made up of the colors of Cross’ homeland, with yellow and green on the walls and Jamaican flags everywhere. Taking a cue from the restaurant’s name, posters and pictures of Bob Marley are also prominently displayed.

As we live in COVID times, the restaurant is takeout only right now. The main dining area currently hosts four tables, seating 16 diners, though more may be added. We ordered one of the trademark items on the menu, Jerk Chicken ($9.50 for medium size), which comes with rice and beans. Bottled beverages are also available on site, including CranWATA, Jamaica’s top-selling flavored water.

The chicken traveled very well, staying hot and delicious all the way through a 30-minute drive to our destination. The portion was extremely generous, with several diners getting a nice plateful from our medium-sized order.

The flavor comes at you in waves. First, the perfectly-cooked chicken has a sweetness to it. Then comes the kick— a burst of spicy heat that adds an unforgettable accent to the food. It’s delicious and makes you want to keep coming back for more.

1-1 CHOWLINE 1So shall it be in the end
Cross said that in addition to the Jerk Chicken, items like their Red Snapper and Ox tail have proven very popular. The restaurant enforces strict social distancing guidelines for food pickup, which Cross said customers have been very respectful of.

“We make sure individuals wear their mask when they come here, to keep the city free of COVID. And so far, they have been participating and been doing good. The families all around, they [have] welcomed us.”

At the end of the day, Cross said that he hopes his customers will come away from One Love with affection and respect for the culture and cuisine that are a huge part of his life.

“We hope that when they come in, the service that we provide, the hospitality and everything, they will first see that as, Jamaicans are hospitable. And then, after coming in and seeing the food that we provide, we hope that when they leave, they leave with a taste that, ‘Wow, this is so great!’”

2636 W. Central Ave.
419-407-5655 | facebook.com/Onelovejamaicanrestuarant
11am-8:30pm, Monday-Thursday
10am-5:30pm, Friday and Sunday
Closed Saturday