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Kareem Allen smiled, taking a bite of jerk chicken. "It's really good," he said.

The cold weather Tuesday was a far cry from the Eckerd College student's home in Jamaica. But the food from Catering by Saffron's tasted like it.

Nearly two years after Saffron's closed its restaurant in Jungle Prada on Park Street, Edyth James, along with her sister Jackie Hill and her niece Saffron Presley, has opened a catering business on 34th Street S.

"Cooking has been my life," James said. A painting of the original restaurant hangs in the shop.

The three women opened the new business with great fanfare.

Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis welcomed people to the event, saying, "Saffron's is synonymous with food."

James and family specialize in Caribbean food but are expanding to other world cuisine.

"Lo and behold, look what has dropped in our laps, the best Caribbean food in the world," City Council member James Bennett said.

The launch of the catering service was helped by the Midtown Economic Development Business Assistance Center, which guidesowners through the permitting process and developing a business plan.

"A lot of time business owners are very good with what they do, but they may need help with working on city requirements," said Aubri Shauger-Haley, a small-business enterprise specialist with the center.

Shauger-Haley said the center helps owners have access to business counselors and others that will help them thrive.


Catering by Saffron's

5215 34th St. S

(727) 744-0864