Area 509 restaurant celebrates Caribbean culture in Appleton

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – It’s the restaurant that brings Caribbean flair to Northeast Wisconsin.

“The food I cook reminds people of vacation and we do have the ambiance and the only thing we don’t have is just the ocean,” said owner Reggie Desamour.

He is the owner of Area 509 in Appleton named after his beloved home country of Haiti. He remembers falling in love with cooking at a young age when he used to help his mom prepare meals for their family.

“I was always cooking for parties with friends and stuff and they were always enjoying it so I decided to turn it into a business,” he said.

Lambeau Field model reunited with builder after nearly four decades

Desamour said he came to the United States back in 2009. He originally studied to become a radiologist, but soon found his passion was in cooking so he started a food truck.

“I’m not a morning person, but when it comes to food trucking 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. I’ll get up for cooking, but if it is something else I’m not getting up,” he said.

In the early days of the food truck, Desamour met Marko Sosa a fellow small business owner who also has his own food truck.

They quickly became friends.

“I fell in love with the food and then the guy turned out to be a pretty cool guy too,” said Sosa.

Sosa has watched Desamour’s business evolve from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar restaurant on the corner of Spring Street, Badger Avenue, and Linwood Avenue in Appleton.

He said what hasn’t changed about Desamour is his passion for showcasing the culture of his home country of Haiti through his authentic Caribbean dishes.

Wisconsin Huddle: Badgers hockey thriving and eying conference title

“Do not be afraid of food (that is different than what you’re used to), try it because it’s delicious it will transport you to a different place,” said Sosa.

This year, Desamour said he’s celebrating Black History Month by continuing to bring people together by showcasing his Caribbean culture he’s so proud of.

He’s also showing that anything is possible no matter where you’re from or what you look like. He’s living his American Dream.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WFRV Local 5 - Green Bay, Appleton.