NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC)--- If you talk to Island Krave owner Dorothy Lovell for even a minute, you’ll quickly learn her passion for the Caribbean goes deeper than food.
"You’re not just looking to consume food,” Lovell said. “You're looking for something to satisfy your soul."
It’s an experience you can enjoy daily at the Norfolk restaurant on 21st Street.
Lovell's Caribbean-inspired food is some of the best in the area.
But it's the Montego Bay native's tenacity that got her to where she is today.
"I wanted the satisfaction of success,” said Lovell.
Before moving to Hampton Roads, Lovell spent 25 years in the corporate world, working for a multi-million dollar real estate company in New York City.
She decided to leave it all for something closer to her heart, but she hasn’t lost that strong business sense.
"I operate on the KISS concept,” she said. “Keep it simple, stupid."
Lovell wants to make Island Krave a household name.
She has already opened a second restaurant, Pimento, on Colley Avenue, and by next year she plans to open a third restaurant, also on Colley Avenue, closer to ODU.
"The goal is to give you a taste of the island without you traveling via airplane,” said Lovell.
And she hasn't lost her passion to please. It comes out in the food, and it’s a big part of who she is.
"I've spent many nights crying to figure out how I can get this to work,” said Lovell.