The Citiblog

An Interview With Jasmine Gerald, Owner of Two Popular NYC Spots
March 18, 2024, 7:55.16 pm ET


Photos: Jasmine Gerald/

In honor of Women’s History Month, CITITOUR had the honor of sitting down with a woman making a difference in New York City’s food scene. She not only opened one successful restaurant at the height of the pandemic on Manhattan's fashionable Restaurant Row, Jasmine Gerald opened two - Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine and S'Aimer. Gerald credits the help of her mom and her faith, for achieving her goals. This is her story.

JASMINE GERALD: "The way I opened Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine, it was during the pandemic, I saw the space and I fell in love. I grew up in the restaurant business. My mom ran a restaurant in the Virgin Islands. At that time, people weren’t traveling. There was nowhere to go. So, why not create something beautiful where people could feel like they were away with bright lights, colorful atmosphere, good food, good drinks, and a good vibe. This is something I wanted to create. Everything I do is with love and that’s how Jasmine’s came about."

CITITOUR: Tell us about the recipes. How did you come up with the menu?

JASMINE GERALD: "It’s all of my favorite foods, what I grew up eating with my mom. You know escargot, mussels, calamari. I grew up eating these things from my Caribbean heritage, you know. The curry chicken, jerk chicken, the jazzy pasta created by my head chef."

CITITOUR: When people come, what should they order?

JASMINE GERALD: "Everything here is delicious. The pulled oxtail is amazing. The Jazzy Pasta, you can get it with shrimp or chicken. The bass is amazing. If you like escargot. The escargot is very good, the mussels, the escabeche snapper. Everything is amazing. If you are a foodie like me. You have to order two or three things. People say, can we share plates? And we say yeah. Everyone can have their own dish and everyone can share. I want them to experience the flavors."

CITITOUR: Describe the flavors.

JASMINE GERALD: "The flavors are like thyme, curry seasonings, spices. We use Scotch Bonnet. We make the escabeche sauces. That’s what makes it. We season the food ahead of time, so you taste the seasonings in the meat and fish."

Photo: S'Aimer/

Not too long after opening Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine, Gerald opened her second restaurant, S'Aimer, also located on NYC's restaurant row. Gerald told us about it.

JASMINE GERALD: I wanted to have like a speakeasy feel. People were saying after I leave Jasmine’s, where can I go? Where can I go? When this space became available, I said why not open a space where people can come. We can have entertainment. We have different nights. Thursdays we have singers and performers. On Friday nights we have DJs. I wanted it to have a French attitude, to be low key and intimate. S'Aimer means 'for the love of everyone.' It’s an experience."

CITITOUR: When did you feel this could really be something?

JASMINE GERALD: "Anything I do in my life, I do it by faith. So, I say if this is what I am going to do, I do it and whatever obstacle comes, we’ll figure it out. For me, Jasmine’s and S'Aimer is about creating opportunities and financial support for the people that work for me because without them this would not be. I’m so proud and grateful that I have this opportunity to provide for others. I have amazing people working with me, not for me, they work with me."

CITITOUR: So, this is your village?

JASMINE GERALD: It’s definitely my village and they care. How they prepare the food, how they treat people and that’s where you feel the love.

CITITOUR: It’s so uplifting because during that time people were losing their jobs.

JASMINE GERALD: "I’m not going to say it was easy. It was not easy. The community, Times Square Alliance, was extremely helpful, helping me promote. People were spreading the word. People were coming in. A lot of my friends and family supported it. People in the sitcom world came by. At that time we didn’t even have a liquor license. So it was so crazy. God was in control the whole time. A young lady came. She just started TikTok. She said I found this Caribbean restaurant in Times Square. The first thing she said was the food is amazing, but they don’t have alcohol. People were coming knowing there was no alcohol. That’s my gratification."

Photo: Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine/

CITITOUR: What do you attribute your success to?

JASMINE GERALD: "I attribute it to my mom, and my children and my partner. My son actually runs and manages Jasmine’s. I’m extremely proud. My son is 27 and my daughter is 28. And my mom, she sacrificed so much for me. Her resilience, her perseverance, her faith, her strength, her beliefs. She would always say, I know you could do it and she would support me in any way. And when I look at her, I am the woman I am because of her."

CITITOUR: Was she an entrepreneur like you?

JASMINE GERALD: "My mom always cooked. My mom ran the restaurant. You could say it was her restaurant. Whatever she said, she did 100 percent. And she was humble and that’s the key."

CITITOUR: What would you say to other women looking to enter this industry?

JASMINE GERALD: "What I would say to other women wanting to enter the food industry, know exactly what you want, what is your niche. How important is this to you because the restaurant business is not easy. But understanding that it’s not just you. It’s a team and the people that you choose make sure they can help you with your vision and your purpose. That’s important, because you can’t do this by yourself. It’s tough, especially being a woman and a woman of color. It’s a very male dominated industry."

JASMINE GERALD: "Don’t come into this business saying, I just want to open a restaurant. Understand about your accounting, your food, how are you going to bring people to your restaurant, location. Location is key. How are you going to pay for your employees. How many employees are you going to need? How much funding are you going to need to open this space? How much funding are you going to need in case of a pandemic, if something happens… speaking to people in the business who can teach you how to be successful. I’m all about knowledge. Nothing was too dumb. I just asked questions. People introduced me to the right people who could help me and that’s important. Don’t feel like you know it all. Ask questions. Be clear. That’s key. Be clear."

Photo: S'Aimer Lounge/

CITITOUR: What do your want people to know about S’Aimer and why they should come into the restaurant?

JASMINE GERALD: It’s dark and sexy. It’s romantic. The food is amazing. You get two choices. You can get Caribbean food. You can get some French food. I just love it because it reminds me of Paris. It reminds me of love.

Interview by Jennesh Agagas. See our video profile of Jasmine Gerald here

Our special thanks to Jasmine Gerald for taking the time to speak with us and we wish her much success in the future.

Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine is located at 371 W 46th St in Manhattan (646) 964-5337

S'Aimer is located at 338 W 46th St in Manhattan (646) 410-2297