Support Local SWFL

Jamaican Chef Thrives in Fort Myers

To escape the busy life of Philadelphia, Colin Gregg, who is originally from Jamaica, decided it was time to move his family to Southwest Florida.

After relocating to SWFL, Colin left his 9-to-5 job in corporate America to jump on the entrepreneur track. His first venture… a commercial cleaning company.

Colin used the profits from his successful business to pursue a life-long dream of owning a restaurant.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “The idea has always been in my head.”

A signature dish on Irei-I’s menu is Goat Head Soup . HelloSWFL’s food enthusiast, Logan Newell, sat down with Colin to find out how the soup is prepared and its significance in Jamaican culture.

In April 2017, Colin opened Irei-I Jamaican American Cafe in Fort Myers on Fowler Street between Carell Road and Simpson Street.

After the first year, Colin got a taste of how SWFL’s seasonal crowd affected his restaurant business.

“Business took a dive after Mother’s Day,” Colin said. “Then it was slow during the summer months, and then Hurricane Irma hit.”

Despite the ups and downs, Colin continues to cook from the soul.

“You can’t get into the restaurant business just because you’re driven by financial rewards,” he said. “You have to love food.”