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Barbara Saltmann has decorated her Caribbean restaurant in Moabit like a Jamaican beach bar. For more than ten years, her guests have come to experience the meaning of Ya-Man: Everything is ok.
The ceiling of Jamaican restaurant Ya-Man is blue, and the eye is naturally drawn up to the painted panorama of fluffy white clouds and cockatoos. The walls are painted in the country's national hues of green and yellow, while the flags of the other Caribbean countries fly above the tables.
The huge leaves of a plastic banana tree lean languidly into the room. "Now there's a little piece of the Caribbean in Moabit," says the effervescent restaurateur, Jamaican-born Barbara Saltmann. The name of the restaurant encapsulates her attitude to life. In Jamaican Patois, ‘Ya-Man' translates as something like ‘everything's fine.'
Ya-Man's wooden bar, colorful decor and ceramic tile floor give it the feeling of a real Jamaican beach bar. The restaurant is small and cozy, and the food is authentic, with a menu of rice dishes served with lots of vegetables and seasoned with traditional spices such as ginger, allspice, garlic, and thyme. Other classics include pulled pork and rum punch, a drink that enjoys immense popularity at Barbara Saltmann's establishment.
Her broad smile exudes positivity and strength. Barbara Saltmann used to work in tourism and didn't have any experience in the restaurant business, but in 2008 she spontaneously decided to give it a go, and Ya-Man made its debut on Moabit's striking Gotzkowksystrasse.
"It's cheaper to eat here than to fly to Jamaica," she says with a laugh. But the restaurant hasn't replaced her home. "I have two homes," says Barbara Saltmann. "I travel to Jamaica to tank up on energy, and then I am always happy to come back to Berlin."
Author: Masha Slawinski