This new Jamaican restaurant willed its curry goat to success

Photo by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden

Curry goat was not an immediate hit at Wah Gwan, a stylish and comfortable new Jamaican spot at 63rd and Troost (6228 Troost Ave., The dish requires two hours of active preparation time for chef-owner Tanyech Yarbrough, and the meat isn’t cheap. “I didn’t have a lot of Caribbean people coming in, so not a lot of people were ordering the goat,” she says. “I still didn’t want to take it off the menu, so I offered it one day a week—let’s call it Curry Goat Friday.”

And on Curry Goat Friday, Yarbrough worked the crowd, introducing them to the rich, tender and lightly spicy stew. “I had my little silver containers—they look like shot glasses, but they’re for sauces—and I’d give people a taste of it. Once they have it, they’re hooked. ‘Forget that jerk chicken, let me get that curry coat.’”

Curry goat is a staple in Jamaica and among the Jamaican diaspora, but Yarbrough’s version is not entirely traditional—her’s uses organic coconut oil and milk with peppers. Yarbrough is Jamaican, raised in Brooklyn’s Flat-bush neighborhood. Her husband is Nigerian and his background has been an inspiration for her Jamaican cooking.

“I go back to the root with a lot of things,” she says. “When I got to Nigeria I’m like, ‘This is a big version of Jamaica.’ It’s all the same, and I want to be able to bring this culture to people in Kansas City.”

And so she has, one silver sauce cup at a time.

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