Manhattan has lost a pillar of the community with a heart made of love.
Kenrick Waite, co-owner of The Little Grill and beloved local musician, has died. An outpouring of appreciation for the Montego Bay native has since flowed on social media, expressing both sadness and fond memories of the 69-year-old Muzizi band vocalist.
Kenrick and his wife, Cathy, first opened The Little Grill in 2002 serving up a blend of Jamaican and American food that Kenrick called ‘Jam-merican’ according to the Dyer Road restaurant’s website.
Waite moved to the United States by way of Mexico in 1998, having met his wife in Cancun where he worked as a resort singer in a band starting in 1993. Kenrick proposed to the Manhattan-native Cathy in 1999.
Waite in Manhattan sang for the reggae band Muzizi for about 20 years alongside musicians including the Dr. Wayne Goins and Kevin Pierce.
On Facebook, Kayela Holle remarked she would never forget Kenrick’s presence and love for Cathy, writing that “the special sauce on the table is incredible. But the REAL special sauce is in the environment he and Cathy created at The Grill.”
Condolences also came from the Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity, which reflected on Kenrick’s performance at 2022’s Valentine’s Day event ‘Home is Where the Heart is.’ “Anyone who knew Kenrick knows that he brought so much love.”
Steve Hinrichs commented that Kenrick’s smile was “infectious, your food was delicious, and your spirit was contagious.”
Former employee Tyler Jackson writes Kenrick bore a “warmth to him that you cannot put into words. There was a kindness to him that he exulted, no matter how busy he or the place was.”
Dave Lewis writes that Kenrick stood out in Manhattan. “Whether it was through his music, his food at The Little Grill, his cool, collective personality or by embracing all who crossed his path, this man was unique, loving and lovable.”