Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine owner brings fresh, familiar favorites to Chandler

Image description
Image description
Image description
When Karen Francis took a trip to Arizona on vacation from New York, she had no intention of starting a restaurant. But with one taste of the Jamaican food offerings in the Valley, Francis said she knew she was going to bring authentic Jamaican food to the Valley.

“I took one bite at that restaurant, and I was like, ‘Mmm, no, this is not authentic,’” Francis said. “They were not representing Jamaican food correctly. I thought I could do better.”

In July 2008, she opened Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine in Chandler. Since then the business has seen customers remain loyal enough to allow the business to expand to include a food truck—something Francis says is always in high demand.

“We have amazing customers,” she said. “Some of them have been with us since we opened, and they are still there. I’ve seen kids grow up that I met in their mama’s bellies and teenagers turn into adults.”

Francis said the customers kept her afloat during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—especially as Gov. Doug Ducey limited indoor dining and restricted businesses to take-out only for a portion of the summer. Coming up on a year since COVID-19 began impacting business, Francis said she is grateful to the people who kept ordering her food.


“I was bracing for the worst,” she said. “I don’t know how we got so lucky. God must’ve sprinkled some dust down on us. They were so supportive, and I’m so grateful to them all for coming in. I had people traveling from Cave Creek coming in and buying a bunch of food to make sure we stay in business.”

The food, Francis said, is what keeps people coming back. With traditional Jamaican dishes, Francis—who still spends some of her time in the kitchen—said the restaurant tries to keep it as pure and authentic as possible.

“It’s the stuff you grow up on when you’re Jamaican,” Francis said. “We serve traditional jerk chicken; we do a whole red snapper; we do so much. It’s a very simple, but very tasty, menu.”


MOST RECENT

Several new businesses will be opening in Chandler in the next few months. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Conveyor belt sushi, wine bar and more: 5 businesses coming soon to Chandler

Several businesses will open in Chandler in the coming months including 99 Ranch Market, a revolving sushi bar and others.

Chandler USD headquarters. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD governing board to discuss COVID-19 mitigation plan for upcoming year at May 12 meeting

The Chandler USD governing board will discuss the district's potential COVID-19 mitigation plan for the 2021-22 school year during a meeting Wednesday, May 12, according to the board agenda.

See daily COVID-19 data updates. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: See Chandler COVID-19 cases, vaccinations by ZIP code

Here are the COVID-19 data updates to know today.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
ADHS: Hospitalization for COVID-19 increases slightly from last week

Take a look at the hospitalization data across Arizona.

Randy Duren co-owns Hair of the Dog with his wife, Marleen. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
A pet-friendly bar opens in Gilbert; a 99 Ranch Market will anchor a Chandler shopping center and more top news from the Phoenix area

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Phoenix area.

Three businesses in Chandler have one-year anniversaries this year. (Community Impact staff)
Three Chandler-area businesses celebrate one-year anniversaries

Here are three businesses in Chandler with one-year anniversaries this year.

Almost 3 million COVID-19 doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents as of May 4, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Nearly 3M vaccine doses have been given to Maricopa County residents

Almost 3 million COVID-19 doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents as of May 4, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

See daily COVID-19 data updates. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: See Chandler COVID-19 cases, vaccinations by ZIP code

Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 case counts in Chandler and the state.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
ADHS: Hospitalization for COVID-19 increases slightly from May 2

Here is what you need to know about hospitalization numbers in Arizona because of COVID-19 cases.

99 Ranch Market will anchor the shopping center located at the northeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
99 Ranch Market to anchor Chandler shopping center

99 Ranch Market will anchor the shopping center located at the northeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road.

Jinya Ramen Bar opened its downtown Chandler location April 29. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Jinya Ramen Bar opens downtown Chandler location

Jinya Ramen Bar opened its downtown Chandler location April 29

Chandler USD Superintendent Camille Casteel announced she will be canceling an event planned to honor her years of service to the district ahead of her retirement at the end of the school year. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD cancels event for outgoing superintendent; new businesses at The Post at Cooley Station and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Chandler and Gilbert areas.