'Not just another chain': Caribbean-style takeout open for business in Fall River – Fall River Herald News

FALL RIVER — And now for something completely different.
Nearly three years after the closing of D’Angelo sandwich shop at 10 Plymouth Ave., what had been a vacant building on the small site is now a restaurant featuring a blend of Haitian and Jamaican food.
“We mix it up,” said Kettia Auguste, owner of Ket’s Empire Restaurant, referring to her menu.
And although the sign out front advertises both dining in and takeout, it’s the latter that the Haiti-born Auguste says she encourages of her customers, at least until such time that the coronavirus pandemic becomes more manageable.
Delivery service, she added, will be forthcoming. But it’s only been a week since Auguste opened her new business, so her focus now is on getting her small staff familiar with the daily routine of preparing the Caribbean-style dishes.
There’s plenty of jerk chicken on the grill at Ket’s Empire Restaurant.
Jerk, which comes from the Spanish word charqui meaning dried strips of meat, is a tipoff that the chicken has been seasoned so that it delivers a decidedly spicy note to the palate.
Other Caribbean menu items include seasoned lamb chops; Haitian-style fried turkey and Tasso goat; a choice of meats with rice and beans; and oxtail with rice.
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Prices on the current menu range from $5 for a side order of collard greens to $30 for a plate of red snapper with a choice of either brown or yellow rice, fried plantain or salad.
Auguste is also working on an “ice cream bar” that will serve up both hard and soft versions of the frozen dessert.
And although she plans to eventually serve breakfast sandwiches and eggs starting at 9 a.m., the lunch-and-dinner restaurant for the time being opens each day at 11 a.m.
Auguste previously operated a food truck on a part-time basis that served non-Caribbean fare for private parties and events as far away as Boston.
She says she buys her seafood at a South Boston wholesale food market, her beef from Restaurant Depot in Avon and her poultry from local supermarkets.
Andrea Cruz of Fall River had just placed an order to go for jerk chicken with yellow rice and macaroni and cheese to feed herself and her 22-year-old daughter.
Cruz said she likes the idea that she can now order Caribbean-style food without having to drive to Rhode Island, Brockton or Boston.
“I love that it’s ethnic food and not just another chain,” she said.
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Auguste, 35, said that she, her three siblings and their parents moved from Haiti 15 years ago to Florida’s Boca Raton. One of her sisters, she said, eventually opened a Caribbean-style restaurant.
After getting married, Auguste and her husband moved to Boston where they lived for nine years before coming to Fall River with their three children.
She says she and her husband were able to afford to buy a house in Fall River, which was not the case in Boston.
Auguste says she used to work as cooking supervisor at a Boston Marriott hotel, but gave it up shortly after moving to Fall River because of the long commute and her responsibility to her young children.
Her husband, who works in Boston as a paralegal, continues to drive to work from Fall River.
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Auguste said she originally planned to open Ket’s Empire Restaurant at least three months ago but ran into some stumbling blocks.
City inspectors told her she would have to install two new kitchen exhaust hoods and make upgrades and repairs to the building’s plumbing and electrical systems. Auguste said she spent $35,000 in order to come into full compliance.
She also lost her mother, who Auguste said unfortunately wasn’t vaccinated and died two months ago from COVID-19.
As for the building and real estate. Auguste says she has a five-year lease with an option to buy from the parent company of D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches and its sister brand Papa Gino’s.
Ket’s Empire Restaurant isn’t the only place that sells chicken meals within the immediate area.
Both KFC and Boston Market are located within a reasonably short walk, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Pleasant Street is a couple minutes’ drive away. But none of them cooks authentic, Caribbean jerk chicken.
Could Ket’s Empire Restaurant eventually give them some stiff competition?
“I’m not sure yet, but I’m working on it,” Auguste said with a smile.
Charles Winokoor may be reached at cwinokoor@heraldnews.com. Support local journalism and subscribe to The Herald News today.


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