A freshly painted bright red, green and yellow roof stands out in the Uptown landscape.
The flag painted on the front says it all–Jamaican food is headed to the neighborhood.
A long-time Broad Street Market vendor, Porters House, known for its authentic Caribbean food, will soon get cooking in its first standalone restaurant at 2001 N. 6th St. The building formerly housed a KFC and later Kennedy Fried Chicken.
For fans of Porters House’s market stand, don’t sweat it, they aren’t leaving.
Having operated her eatery since 2012, owner Nadine Graham said that she was ready for a new venture and a chance to serve her cuisine more than the three days per week that the market is open.
“I was getting too relaxed and stagnant,” Graham said of her decision to expand. “I just felt like I needed to do something more. I’m nervous, but if you’re not nervous, it’s not good.”
Originally from Jamaica, Graham moved to New York before making her way to Harrisburg with her kids. When she set up shop in the Broad Street Market, there were only a handful of vendors, she said.
“The market has endured so much,” she said. “I still love the market. I wouldn’t give it up for nothing.”
At Porters House’s new location, customers will find the same dishes that Graham serves at the market, but with even more menu options. Oxtail, jerk chicken and Jamaican beef patties are a few customer favorites, Graham said. To get the most authentic ingredients, many of which are hard to find in the region, Graham travels to New York and Baltimore regularly.
“When I came here, there was not much Jamaican food and I saw a need for that,” she said.
There have been ups and downs with the business, and weathering the pandemic wasn’t easy, but Graham’s passion for what she does keeps her moving forward.
“I love cooking; I love people; I love serving,” she said. “I love what I do.”
For years now, Porters House has taken leftover food on Saturdays to Downtown Daily Bread for residents in need. Graham said that they are looking for a volunteer to deliver the food, in order for them to keep the tradition going.
She is also looking to hire employees as they finish up renovations to the building and plan to open in the coming weeks.
Graham is hopeful that she’s headed in the right direction with the business.
“Uptown is changing; hopefully I made a good move,” she said. “I’m hoping that I get a lot of support from my customers. I’m just walking in faith.”
Porters House will open its new location at 2001 N. 6th St., Harrisburg. Their stand at the Broad Street Market is located in the stone building. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
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