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SpiceNThing Caribbean Restaurant Serves Up The Spice Of Life

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

By Lori Anne Oliwa

IFEL Communications

Dreams do come true, but it takes vision, inspiration, perspiration and dedication….just ask Andrea and Roger Miller, owners of SpiceNThing, a popular Caribbean restaurant in East Orange, NJ. Opened in August of 2018, the husband and wife team - the ‘dynamic duo’ of the community - are proud to celebrate five years in business. “It’s been one challenge after the other,” stated Andrea, “but we just keep doing what we love. I must say my husband’s food is incredible.” Andrea explained that in addition to having autoimmune issues and almost dying, her and husband Roger, an experienced chef, stepped up to help raise a relative’s five children. That was in addition to raising 4 of their own. The challenges did not stop there. Issues with the business location including potential demolition, a possible sale or not, and a leaking roof are just some of the disruptions that plagued the couple.

The one constant that remained through all the strife and struggle is the excellent cuisine, lovingly prepared and artfully presented. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers customized catering, delivery and take-out. SpiceNThing is really a family affair, where the love of cooking, community and family blend together like a perfect recipe. Andrea and Roger’s children are involved in the business and not only run the register and help to keep the place spotless, but also help to cook. “Our twenty-six year old even thought of the business name,” Andrea said proudly.

The story of how SpiceNThing came into existence is inspirational. Roger reminisced about the night he was watching television with Andrea, and a commercial about chef’s training came on. “I knew right away that becoming a chef was exactly what I wanted to do,” he stated. Born and raised in Guyana, Roger migrated to New York at the age of 17 with high hopes of becoming a chef. In December 2007 that dream became a reality when he graduated from the Arts Institute of New York City with an Associate degree in Culinary Arts. While going to school, Roger juggled being an employee, caring husband to his wife, and father to his children. He honed his culinary skills at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in Manhattan, where he was a respected chef for almost a decade. Opening his own restaurant with wife Andrea is pure bliss. “I cook from my heart, and everything is made with love,” Roger stated.

SpiceNThing prepares over 29 dishes daily, including 9 different vegetables - vegetarians will rejoice - and pastries. “Our pastry chef is very talented,” Andrea noted. Jerk chicken, curried shrimp and seasonal eggplant are popular dishes. Exotic choices like oxtail and goat are available, and there are also gluten-free choices on the menu. “Caribbean cuisine is actually very diverse, relying on spices and fresh herbs,” Andrea stated. In fact, Roger makes trips every 3 months to Guyana to procure the dried herbs and spices used in the restaurant, making everything authentic. His family is engaged in farming, so he always has a source for the best ingredients. Cassava, a fruit pounded into a black liquid, is very big in Caribbean culture and something with a high demand, especially during the holidays. Roger brings several gallons at a time back to the states.

Something unique about SpiceNThing is the kitchen design. It is the only restaurant in East Orange that has an open kitchen where customers can see everything being prepared as well as the cleanliness of the preparation space. Roger hails from a large family where cooking and cleaning are considered rites of passage. “I come from a family of eight where cooking and cleaning is a family tradition. My mom always bought whole chickens and everything else whole, so that’s how we learned how to clean and handle the food along with the actual cooking,” Roger stated.

SpiceNThing even has a celebrity following and is caterer to famous entertainer, Lauren Hill. The couple has catered private and professional events for the singer, one in which they fed over 2,000 at CNN Studios with the Fuji’s, a rock group. “That was a milestone for us,” Roger stated, “as even the chef from CNN came to try our food. We fed the whole staff and had people talking about our food and looking for us. CNN never allows any outside caterers in, so this was a pretty big deal.” The restaurant has a brisk catering business and emphasizes that the cuisine is customized to the client.

While Andrea and Roger have found a recipe for success - they are on a trajectory to purchase the commercial space housing their business - they recognize the

Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership and the counsel they received through the organization’s New Jersey Small Business Assistance Initiative. The program has helped them to refine business operations, improve their website and become capital ready. Andrea noted that the expertise she received from IFEL is helping her to create an investor pitch which will help SpiceNThing cultivate investors. “IFEL has been so helpful, and we will continue on our journey to attract investors and improve our business, thanks to IFEL.”

“Roger Miller, is not only a celebrity chef but a perfectionist. I watched him as he delicately put together a large scale catering order. This care subsequently translated into how the customers loyally return”

IFEL Project Director Lena Washington recognized the dynamic husband and wife team. “Andrea and Roger Are seeking support in acquiring the building they have resided in for the past few years. With the backing of the city council, they are attempting to create a luxury dining experience in an underrepresented city.”

SpiceNThing is located at 442 Main Street, East Orange, NJ. The telephone number is (973) 674-9999. For more information, visit the website


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