Above: Casa Rasta hopes to open their second location on Federal Street early next month.
by Kelsey Shea
Caribbean cuisine with a Mexican flair is coming to Federal Street with a new take-out restaurant called Casa Rasta.
Owner Kelly Morrissey and Chef Antonio Fraga hope Casa Rasta will open at 1204 Federal St. sometime in early June.
“We’re here not just to provide a new concept,” said Morrissey, “but also to be of value to the neighborhood.”
Morrissey, who was born in Antigua, and Fraga, who is from Mexico City, blend their two cultures into one cuisine that is served at Casa Rasta.
The two currently operate the original Casa Rasta in Beechview, but are looking forward to the opening of their second location on Federal Street.
The Federal Street restaurant will have a shorter, slightly varied menu than the Beechview location, but Fraga said the menu will feature Caribbean staples like jerk chicken and yucca chips as well as Mexican dishes like tacos and quesadillas.
“It’s something people don’t get to try very often,” said Fraga, whose travels throughout Mexico have influenced his food.
Morrissey said he decided to open a second Casa Rasta location in the Northside because he saw a growing market here and wanted to be part of the new development.
“We were paying attention to the increase of people moving into the city,” said Morrissey, who added that the Northside was particularly attractive because of its central location.
With El Burro also serving Mexican food on Federal Street, some residents have expressed concern about market competition, but Morrissey doesn’t anticipate a problem.
“Casa Rasta is a totally different concept,” he said. “It’s like apples and oranges.”