(WHNT) — The hearty plates of food at M&K Jamaican restaurant aren’t just for show. 

“The service is great. There’s nothing like it around here,” says Lamar Tummings of Hazel Green.

Tummings comes from Hazel Green and says it’s all about togetherness, good eats, and community. Aaron Whyte travels from Harvest for those very reasons. 

“It’s important for me to get that real culture and experience and I think the food embodies that. I definitely love this restaurant,” says Whyte.

And that is the added ingredients that the owners of M&K Jamaican Restaurant say, is not so secret. Keeping a business open in Huntsville since the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown has not been easy. Especially when in-person service is a major part of the business. 

“It wasn’t easy at first. It was slow at first because everyone was just scared and the uncertainty. but the great tasting food and quality food has customers keep coming back,” says mark Blake, the restaurant’s co-owner.

Since the COVID-19 shut down, for many businesses in Alabama, the name of the game has been survival.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the grim realities for some businesses in Alabama. Most black-owned establishments, including M&K, were turned down for a Paycheck Protection Loan. But they just opened the door to a loyal customer base and closed the door on things they can’t control. 

“We just practice mindfulness which is living in the moment, living for each day. and don’t stress about things that we can’t control or things that’s happening around us,” says co-owner Karen Blake.

The owners added that they will keep doing to remain traditional and authentic. The way that they have been before the pandemic began.