Sun. Jun 16th, 2024
Entrepreneurs introducing Asian and Haitian cuisine to Bainbridge Island

Two unique dining experiences are now available on Bainbridge Island, thanks to two business owners who have brought a taste of Asian and Haitian cuisine to the area. Ritho Jean Louis, owner and manager of Ritho Caribbean Spot, is sharing his passion for cooking since he was a child with ingredients like tomatoes, corn, and peanuts that brought him to Bainbridge during harvest seasons. He noticed a lack of food that resembled his home cuisine and decided to open his own restaurant.

On the other hand, Christine Vancamp took a leap of faith by opening an Asian Fusion restaurant at the Bainbridge Marina. She grew up eating Korean dishes like Shoyu chicken, Kalbi, and lumpia, inspired by her grandparents who left Korea for Hawaii in the 1920s. Vancamp cooks alongside her husband and is excited to share her heritage through food with the Bainbridge community.

Both Louis and Vancamp are introducing locals to dishes that are not typical in the traditional Southern cooking scene. Louis plans to host a corn festival on May 18, where members of the Haitian and Latino community will bring their own twist to a southern tradition. The diversity in cuisine not only offers a unique dining experience but also creates a link between heritage, uniqueness, and progression in a town where racial and ethnic diversity has been less common. By bringing their culinary traditions to Bainbridge Island, both business owners hope to give the community a taste of the comfort food they grew up on.

Ritho Jean Louis’ journey as a chef began when he was just six years old in Haiti. He learned how to cook from his sisters after his father passed away when he was only nine years old.

“My sisters taught me how to cook all sorts of dishes,” said Jean Louis. “They showed me how to make things like soup gourmette with rice polenta.”

Ingredients like tomatoes, corn, and peanuts brought Jean Louis to Bainbridge Island during harvest seasons when he came here as part of an agricultural program.

“When I came here as part of an agriculture program from Haiti,” said Jean Louis. “I noticed there were no restaurants serving my home cuisine.”

That’s when he decided it was time for him to open his own restaurant.

“I wanted people here on Bainbridge Island could enjoy some authentic Haitian flavors,” said Jean Louis.

Christine Vancamp took inspiration from her grandparents who left Korea for Hawaii in the 1920s when she opened Ono Kine Local Grindz at the Bainbridge Marina.

“Growing up I ate lots of Korean food because my grandparents moved from Korea here in Hawaii,” said Vancamp.

By Aiden Nguyen

As a content writer at, I delve into the realms of storytelling with the power of words. With a knack for research and a passion for crafting compelling narratives, I strive to bring forth engaging and informative articles for our readers. From decoding complex concepts to unraveling current events, I aim to captivate and educate through the art of writing. Join me on this journey as we explore the ever-evolving landscape of news and knowledge together.

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