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‘It’s been a long ride’: Jamerica Restaurant to close in two weeks after 24-year run

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MADISON, Wis. – In about two weeks, Madisonians will no longer get to visit the Jamerican Restaurant that has made its presence known on Willy Street with its bright and vibrant colors.

Martin Deacon first opened the Jamerica in 1995. What originally began as a deli turned into a sit-down restaurant after many of his hot food items grew in popularity.

“We used to always call it the funky Jamaican spot,” Deacon said. “When I started, there were a lot of hippies and spunky people in the neighborhood.”

Deacon said after about a decade of running his restaurant, business started to decline due to “competition and other restaurants popping up.”

Time would play a role not only in the decline of the restaurant’s business, but also in Deacon’s and his wife’s health.

“My wife is sick in the nursing home,” he said. “She has Alzheimer’s and dementia, which is a very hard thing to take. I put all that together, and I think it’s time to take off.”

Deacon said after 24 years, it’s the people he’s met along the way that he will miss the most.

“It will be hard to see them go, and they don’t want me to go, either. But it’s time. We just have to depart,” he said.

Deacon said he plans to close in about two weeks.

“It’s been a long ride,” he said.

Deacon plans on making a trip back to Jamaica in his retirement and spending as much time with his wife as he can.

“She’s not doing the best right now. So I will give her all my support and stay close to her,” he said.