About the Restaurant

What is Caribe? It is not a chain. It is not a franchise. It is the restaurant concept of Tony Panelli, Puerto Rico native and Minnesota resident since 1981.


Caribe is a Spanish word used in the phrase “Mar Caribe” which translates: “Caribbean Sea” or in reference to the Caribbean region.

Sounds like “car” and “ebay” put together: “ca-REE´-bay”

Now open in St. Paul, Minnesota, Caribe features traditional and Caribbean-inspired dishes from islands across the Caribbean.

Formerly Jay’s Cafe, the 791 Raymond Ave. spot has new owners, new decor, and new food. Tony and his wife recently purchased the business to change it to Tony’s concept. They currently own and operate Caribe. Most days you’ll find Tony cooking in the kitchen.

About the Owners

Tony Panelli
Chef & Owner of Caribe

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Tony moved to Minnesota as a child. Growing up eating Puerto Rican food, and later becoming a professional cook himself, he has a passion for cooking Caribbean food and a desire to share it with Minnesotans.

Besides learning timeless “secrets” of Puerto Rican cooking from his mother and working his way up in several Twin Cities restaurants, Tony earned a degree in culinary arts at LeCordon Bleu, Brown College. Combining his experience in fine dining and French cooking techniques with his Caribbean heritage, Tony will bring a unique menu to the Twin Cities dining scene.

Heidi Panelli

When Heidi is not busy being a mommy of their three daughters at home, she is working on the website, marketing, decorating & painting the restaurant.

Her experience as a professional illustrator, graphic designer, and small business owner herself has helped in getting Tony’s ideas off the ground and into his own kitchen.