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Jimmy's World

You don't get just an interview when you're trying to get a job with Jimmy Sneed. You get a piece of motivational boot camp too. At least that's the way he tells it. Now hiring for Carena's Jamaican Grille at 7102 Midlothian Turnkpike, Sneed says he likes to get his future team pumped up early: "I tell them this is a proud profession. This is going to rock, and they're going to want to come to work and to leave happy at the end of the day."

Which is not to say it's easy. "I have a knack for getting people to work harder than they should," he says, "and I expect them to get really good at what they do pretty quickly -- I give them respect and I give them structure."

That means a vigorous no-smoking policy, no stealing, and keeping the owners on the premises to maintain order. His standards were honed at restaurants with far higher profiles and probably more kitchen conflicts than this place will see. Sneed has the grill-oriented menu down to a science and Carena Ives' authentic Jamaican dishes come with a built-in following and a naturally laid-back vibe.

Sneed won't admit any softening of his management style or his once colorfully profane and rambunctious demeanor — but it's obvious to those around him that grandfatherhood has brought a philosophical mellowing. He'll still rule the kitchen with a practiced eye and a master chef's experience, though, and the ones who make the cut this week will find out just what that means. Customers are already knocking, but until the red neon sign goes on for good, the place is in official soft-opening limbo. 422-JERK.

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