Good To Go Jamaican Cuisine’s Lenice Levy named Evanston businessperson of the year


Photo courtesy to Lenice Levy

Good to Go Jamaican Restaurant on 711 W Howard St. Owner Lenice Levy won a city award for her long term commitment to her business and her community.

Olivia Alexander, Assistant City Editor

Walking into Good To Go Jamaican Cuisine on Howard Street, guests often see owner Lenice Levy out front, greeting guests and helping out. 

When the restaurant is particularly busy, Levy’s employees say she can always be found weaving through the restaurant’s red chairs and brown tables, answering the phone, taking orders and bringing out food. Levy and her husband are co-owners of Good To Go Jamaican, a restaurant which serves Jamaican food infused with American, Italian and Spanish cuisine. 

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce honored Levy with the Businessperson of the Year Award in January. The recognition goes to an Evanston business leader with a long-term commitment to their business and to the community. 

Good To Go Jamaican started as a small storefront on the Chicago side of Howard Street in 2002. The couple purchased and renovated a space in Evanston in 2018, where they remain today. 

Levy said visiting Good To Go is about both food and entertainment. The restaurant recently opened a rooftop, hosts events regularly and has live music each weekend. She said none of this would be possible without the support of Evanston and Chicago residents. 

“We get so much support from our local Evanstonians,” Levy said. “That means the world to me, that they are very invested in supporting small businesses.”

Perseverance and overcoming obstacles are character attributes Levy said she learned from her mother, but she never expected to be honored for those traits. She said she got up every day to ensure the doors could stay open and her staff were continuing to work and in a safe environment. 

While Levy’s main role at Good To Go is in marketing and human resources, she said she also provides mentorship to her staff members and supports other local entrepreneurs to give back to the community. 

Good To Go Manager Shyvonne Leslie has worked at the business for seven years. She said Levy takes the time to know each staff member personally, and her coaching has had an impact. 

“From the first time I met her, the kindness, the openness, the warmth that you feel when you’re going through your interview made me want to work here,” Leslie said.

Levy genuinely wants customers to be a part of the restaurant, Leslie said. The first time guests come to the restaurant, she said they’re customers. By the second time, they’re part of the family. 

Sapphira Flores, who worked as a cashier at the Chicago location, said the Good To Go team felt like a family. They celebrated each other’s birthdays together, she said, and Levy always made everyone feel comfortable.

“(Levy) goes above and beyond to make sure that her business is run in the right way, and she’s been very successful in what she (does),” Flores said. “She’s the head of everything, and she makes everything come together. She envisions what she wants to get done, and she brings it to the floor.”  

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Twitter: @oliviagalex

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