Pasadena’s Kingston Cafe left a notice on their door on August 1, which announced the restaurant’s closure and its new role as as a catering and events venue. The longstanding Jamaican joint was just south of Old Town Pasadena, and went through some public ups and downs over the last 26 years.
Dr. Ina Morris not only opened the eatery in 1992, but maintains a radiology practice, and has a brush with athletic fame. Morris represented the Jamaican track team at the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympics. As one of Pasadena’s only dedicated Jamaican restaurants, Kingston Cafe served traditional dishes encompassing standards like patties, ackee and salted fish, curried fish, and proteins flavored with Jamaica’s most popular ingredient: jerk.
Even though Kingston Cafe had a long run, the restaurant is well-known for its 2011 appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Morris’ son and former managing partner Keone Chong invited the restaurant makeover chef to give Kingston Cafe the hardcore Ramsay treatment, including rapid changes to operations, firing staff, and anything else that makes for entertaining reality television.
The restaurant closed temporarily in 2012 and reopened in fall 2013. It appeared that business was slowing in 2017, as Kingston Cafe pared down to limited weekend hours from Thursday through Saturday.
The owners left the following note for customers:
Effective August 1, 2018
The cafe will provide catering and event services only. We are available for all your celebratory and event needs: wedding receptions, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, meetings and club events.
To all our loyal customers... We thank you for faithful patronage and support.