Dale Cole left his home country of Jamaica in search of a better life. At just 15-years-old, he ventured to the U.S. with hopes of opportunity and zero dollars in his pocket. Many years later, he is a permanent resident and co-owner of Daps Eats, an authentic Jamaican restaurant in Harlem, where he is living out his American dream.
“Growing up [in Jamaica], I always sought for a better way out,” he told Brad Bernstein, the host of Brad Show Live, of why he left the island.
Despite Dale’s recent success of opening his own restaurant, when he first arrived in the U.S., he spent almost two decades being undocumented, which greatly hindered his quality of life. Because Dale entered the U.S. without inspection, work was rare, and his complicated immigration case spanned nearly 18-years before it was finally approved.
“It was difficult,” he recalled of the drawn-out immigration process. During that time, Dale did not have proper work permission. But, he kept busy by religiously cooking for his community, family and church. By cooking with fresh herbs, scotch bonnet peppers and jerk seasonings, the way his mother and grandmother did before him, he perfected his own culinary style. And when Dale finally got his green card through the New York Law Office of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., he was able to open his own business in February 2019, generating jobs within the American economy.
From traditional jerk chicken to oxtail and Jamaican fried dumplings, known as festival, Daps Eats serves all the traditional sweet and spicy flavor profiles of the island.
“When you come here, and you eat something, it should take you back to the islands,” he explained to Brad. “We are known for jerk chicken, that is one of my specialties…it’s spicy, but there is a flavor behind it.”
With hopes to eventually sell his jerk sauce to grocery stores all over the nation, Dale is ecstatic to share his fresh Caribbean-styled cooking with New York City and beyond.