One of Lehigh's gems as a community is its population of diversified peoples and because of that, there are many restaurants, a deli or two, a bakery and meat stores that are owned by people who have come to Lehigh from around the world.
Now an establishment called "Good 2 Go" has opened at 1303 Homestead Rd. and carries all types of Caribbean or West Indian foods. It prides itself with the freshest produce in town and the freshest fish, all ready for the frying pan or grille.
And the store offers some of the best ox-tail selections you will ever find anywhere.
Orlando and Lavern Nelson are owners of the Good 2 Go West Indies food market and deli on Homestead Rd. They offer several meals as take-outs as well as groceries from Jamaica. Photo by MEL TOADVINE
When you enter the store, the aroma of Jamaican foods being cooked tease the air. In the back, is either owners Orlando Nelson or his wife, Lavern, both natives of Jamaica. Both work the store six days a week and say business is good.
But they want to give all nationalities that live in Lehigh an opportunity to try their offerings.
"I think they will be pleasantly surprised," Orlando said. He has recently purchased a much larger stove in the kitchen so he can prepare more meals quicker.
But you can't eat inside because the county says there are not enough parking spots outside, which is surprising since parking surrounds the building. But you can order a take-out.
The Good 2 Go store is in the same building that fronts the Lehigh United Way House. The store is along the north south side of the building and is actually in the original part of the building where The Lehigh Acres Citizen began business.
"We face the Sheriff's office's side. We want people to know where we are. We moved from a site on Joel Blvd. to a larger site here and our customers are following us, but we still want everyone know how easy it is to find us," Orlando said, while preparing ox-tax and chicken in the kitchen.
You can't miss the site. At the entrance is a large painted landscape of parts of Jamaica and especially of the area where Orlando and his wife are from called Port Antonio. It's all painted in bright colors and the entrance is recessed. On Homestead Rd., take the turn into the Sheriff's Substation and steer to a parking spot along the side of the 1303 Homestead site.
Not only does Good 2 Go specialize in all types of Jamaican foods, they are fast becoming well-known for their take-out service.
"Just call us in advance so we can have it ready for you," Orlando said. "And we deliver within five miles. I promise you won't feel our servings are not sufficient," Orlando said with pride.
The store seemed like a beehive of activity with many coming in to buy different things.
One woman, Mary Sudlow of Lehigh, said she stopped by to see the new store."
"I was driving by and saw the sign out front and I pulled in to see what they had to offer," Sudlow said. "They have great prices and food appears to be very fresh as she picked up a package of fish.
Orlando said that all of his foods come from Jamaica sources and are delivered fresh to him from Miami.
"That doesn't include most of our produce, which we get from Immokalee," Orlando said.
However, there are Jamaican pumpkins that look like giant gourds, large yams grown in Jamaica and more.
Good 2 Go also offers Reggae DVDs and CDs, phone cards, lunch deliveries, catering, beet patties and jerk Chicken in addition to his famous ox-tails platters.
Hours at Good 2 Go are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. They are also open on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to around 10 p.m. or so.
"I say that because usually on Saturday night, we have two domino clubs that play here. Now that is a lot of fun to watch," Orlando laughed. "Dominoes with these two clubs is a big thing."
Orlando says he really specializes in "West Indian groceries and take-outs." That's our business; and we have fruits, fish and vegetables always fresh."
This week Orlando is featuring a chicken platter for $4.99 ready to take out. It includes rice and bread, a large leg and thigh with side orders of vegetables including fried yellow plantains," Orlando said. And it's cooked the way they do in the islands of the Caribbean.
What are plantains, you may ask. Orlando says they are a cousin to the banana and are fried.
"You can't beat it, I guarantee it," he laughed. If you plan to order several take-outs, give him a call in the morning so he can have them prepared.
He is planning a menu so people will know what he has as specials each day.
"And if you want us to deliver, just be within five miles. The cost is what it is, we don't ask for tips or extra charges," Orlando said.
So if you want all types of pickled meats, fresh fish ready to cook, smoked turkey, ox tails (they taste better than a tender beef), Jamaican pumpkins, this is where to go.
His landlord is Eugen Borosch who he says has been of great help to him.
"I find him excellent to work with," he said. Borosch was selected this past weekend by the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce for its first Heart Award which will be presented to people who have heart and help others.
Orlando said he also wanted the community know about an event on Feb. 30 being put on by 3 Amigos restaurant and Good 2 Go.
"We're planning all types of foods, a big party and music and we'll have it from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the 3 Amigos restaurant off of Williams Rd.
"We've got a great diversity in population here in Lehigh. We have people from Trinidad, Jamaica, Ghana, Barbados, the Virgin Islands, Haiti and from Asia and Germany. What an opportunity for us all to enjoy each other's foods," Orlando said.
If you are not familiar with the foods of the West Indies, give Orlando a call and he'll fix up something you will like. And when you're ready to pick it up, he promises it will be ready and hot.
For orders, call Orlando or Lavern at 239-303-1009 or by cell, 239-440-5236 and remember, they're next to the Sheriff's substation, facing the side of the building. Look for the giant color artwork at the entrance and some bamboo leaning up against the entrance.
Park and head in and say hello to Orlando and Lavern and ask about their offerings.
Also don't forget to ask about their cooked goat. It taste like lamb to those not familiar with the meat.