Serving smiles and spicy dishes, 1 Luv Island Restaurant brings a little piece of the Caribbean to Central Texans.

Opened in mid-July by friends Roger Anderson, Norris Barr, and Steve Powel, 1 Luv aims to provide Killeen residents with authentic Caribbean favorites mixed with some Jamaican charm.

“Our food is as authentic as it gets,” said Powel, a former reggae promoter. “We serve dishes here that the other Jamaican restaurants in town don’t. Along with our lunch and dinner dishes, we carry specialty ice cream, which no one else in town does.”

The Jamaican trio began discussing going into business together after a meeting of two of the owners.

“I met Steve at a party,” said Barr, a chef. “He had been friends with Roger for 12 years or so. I invited them over to try some of my cooking and they liked it. That’s how we got the idea for 1 Luv.”

With an idea but with business experience in short supply, the friends developed a plan before going all in on 1 Luv. “We are all Jamaican, and our personalities just clicked with one another,” Anderson said. “We braced ourselves for the unexpected, and we were prepared before we jumped into business together, which has made this experience so good and successful since opening our doors.”

As a sergeant first class stationed at Fort Hood, Anderson finds the balancing act he has to perform between the two jobs enjoyable and exciting.

“I don’t find it difficult at all serving in the Army and being a small-business owner,” he said. “I know how to balance both, and with my specific job in the Army, I am locked in for a yearly basis, so that anxiety about getting shipped off isn’t there.”

With a mixture of rap and reggae music playing over the sound system, the owners of 1 Luv hope to provide a fun atmosphere.

“Every Friday night, we are open until midnight,” Powel said. “We have our own little happy hour with music, food and dominoes on the tables.”

With that bit of extra customer service and festive atmosphere, the owners of 1 Luv believe they can eventually become the premier Caribbean option for hungry Killeen residents.

“Our food we serve here is by far the best Jamaican in the area,” Powel said. “With our fast customer service, we hope to grow our brand name and possibly franchise in the future. But we wanted to start here first. Killeen is our American hometown, this is where we are at.”

1 Luv Island Restaurant is at 921 W. Veterans Memorial Blvd., No. 102, Killeen.

Herald/Erik Papke​

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