Jamaican Shares How She Started Top Caribbean Restaurant In Berlin After Landing There As Tourism Student


Barbara Saltmann is a German-based Jamaican entrepreneur who first came to the country as a tourism student. She is well-known for her restaurant, Ya-Man, which translates to “everything is fine” in Jamaican patois. In Berlin, the restaurant serves authentic Caribbean cuisine.

Saltmann had no prior experience in the restaurant industry when he opened Ya-Man. Ya-Man opened in Moabit’s Gotzkowksystrasse in Berlin in 2008, as a result of a spur-of-the-moment decision. She has never looked back since.

“It’s cheaper to eat here than to fly to Jamaica,” she told DW. However, the restaurant has not replaced her home, she underscored. “I have two homes. I travel to Jamaica to tank up on energy, and then I am always happy to come back to Berlin. “

Ya-Man has been around since 2008. The venue has a colorful and funky mix of Jamaican memorabilia in a tiny venue.

“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,” DW describes the restaurant. “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.”

Before Saltmann bought Ya-Man, it was under different ownership. According to her, she was assisting the previous owner in finding a buyer for the property. However, when she realized that the previous owner was selling not only the restaurant but also his secret jerk chicken recipe, she felt compelled to buy it.

“…when I understood that he was about to sell not just the place but also his secret recipe, I was like ‘What?! My God, I feel like you’re selling my grandfather’s underwear!’ and that’s how I came to buy this place. To protect the recipe. And of course, I love cooking and entertaining,” she told Exberliner.

She explained that starting a restaurant business in Berlin requires a lot of work, such as running from one office to the next to complete all of her paperwork. Her advice to potential entrepreneurs is based on her experience in starting a restaurant.

“Nothing happens overnight; just take it to step by step. And if you fall, get up again!” she said.

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