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The second coming of Island Vybz Jamaican Cuisine was a long time coming for its owners, who initially had hoped to launch their Naples restaurant about a year ago.  

Husband and wife Rogen and Shishana Forbes have been anticipating another local spot for Island Vybz since closing their first in July 2019 after operating for more than a year in Coastland Center mall’s food court. Opting for a permanent tenant, mall management replaced Island Vybz with Planet Grilled Cheese that summer. By then, though, the Forbes had built a local following for their authentic oxtail, jerk chicken and critically acclaimed Jamaican cuisine.   

The couple and a third business partner leased a former Subway sandwich shop at Pebblebrooke Center more than a year ago but encountered issues while converting the 1,400-square-foot eatery into a full-service kitchen. Difficulties in getting Collier County permits approved for the range hood and ventilation fans and equipment delays prolonged its opening, Shishana Forbes said.  

But the wait is finally over. Island Vybz had its soft opening late last week at 15215 Collier Blvd., Unit 323, next door to the longtime Gino’s Trattoria Per Tutti Italian restaurant.  Island Vybz Jamaican food opened in Naples

For customers unfamiliar with the traditional Jamaican favorites, Island Vybz happily will provide samples. “A lot of people know the food but for those who don’t we want them to understand it,” said Shishana Forbes, noting that both she and her husband were born in Jamaica. “We sold out of jerk chicken last night but oxtail is still our most popular item. Oxtail is still that killer.” Shishana Forbes won’t reveal the secret ingredients for her flavorful jerk sauce but she says the oxtail at Vybz — pronounced the same as “vibes” — is slow-cooked and simmered with onions and carrots to produce the desired flavor and tenderness.  

In addition to oxtail and jerk chicken, entrees include jerk pork, curry goat, curry chicken, brown stew chicken and fried chicken. Appetizers and sides include beef patties, soup, fried plantains, steamed mixed vegetables and rice and peas. The restaurant also plans to eventually add sauteed peel-and-eat shrimp and jerk wings to the menu.   Island Vybz Jamaican food opened in Naples

 Island Vybz’s owners are still awaiting their beer and wine license as well as tables and chairs to seat more than 40 guests inside and outside. The only chairs available now line the bar but carryout is available. “Everything is pretty much served to go,” she said.  

The distinctive Jamaican flag with its bright yellow X over green and black fields is part of Island Vybz’s logo and sign. A mural of Jamaican musician and reggae pioneer Bob Marley’s smiling face covers one colorful wall near the restaurant’s entrance and a map of Jamaica is painted on another wall.  

Island Vybz’s grand opening celebration is planned for Jan. 7 with a disc jockey. The restaurant’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and closed Mondays. 

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