BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — A Jamaican native, father of three, former track runner for Bakersfield College and now owner of Barrington's Kitchen, is Barrington Lewis.
“A regular restaurant will not give me what I am trying to create,” said Lewis. “I am trying to create a place where anyone can just walk up and feel welcomed.”
Just off Highway 99 on Ming Avenue, his places sit in the parking lot of the 99-cent store and PetSmart.
He says he’s only here today, because of an act of kindness.
“I was volunteering and coaching at West High School and I cooked for them every year,” said Lewis. “One day I saw this big piece of metal behind the bleachers and I asked if I can borrow it and so now it’s a staple of my business right now.”
That piece of metal now is the spot where he whips up Jamaican Caribbean food Tuesday through Sunday. He says his goal is to bring people together.
Lewis says his goal is to bring all types of people together to try his Jamaican style food.
“It's nice to have something different a taste of something different,” said Cynthia Tchatcho, customer for Barrington Kitchen. “I like diversity in terms of food or people So to have something culturally that provides that its really nice.”
Barrington's Kitchen is more than just a kitchen to some of his customers and sometimes it's their only meal.
“Thank you for even thinking about the waste of food, because we see so much food wasted and its disturbing,” said Charmaine Gorham, a homeless customer.
"And to even ask us if we are hungry or thirsty means a lot.”
Lewis says he knows what it's like to be hungry and that’s why everyday he never throws away food. Instead he gives them to his customers who need it the most.
“From a business stand point it's not the safest thing to do, "said Lewis. “It’s discouraged and I get that, but I look at the humanity of the situation. If someone is hungry and I can feed them I will.”
Lewis says he knows what it feels like to have nothing so it’s a great feeling to give something.
“I can't throw food in the trash and it brings tears to my eyes,” said Lewis. "I rather give it to someone who needs it.”
Lewis says that simply giving to others in need is a part of his dream, but says he has more goals to conqueror.
“My goal for me is to have several of these small shacks,” Lewis said. “[I would like to have shacks in] Fresno, Las Vegas, Sacramento and at least three here in Bakersfield and who knows maybe one day we will see Barrington's on a billboard.”
Lewis says he’s proud to be able to offer such a unique food in Kern County, but he says he’s not done with this location.