JoJo’s Jerk Pit in Kingston, Jamaica

JoJo's Jerk PitWe rarely go out to eat in Jamaica. We love to cook, and we find that our meals at home are much better than what we can get at a restaurant. No offense to the Jamaican culinary scene–it just happens to be very traditional to the extent that it’s too constraining. I’ve spoken with a young chef who complains that Jamaicans like their food a certain way, which discourages innovation.

A dominant culinary tradition in Jamaica is jerk. There are jerk stops on every block of Kingston, it seems.

When we do go out, JoJo’s Jerk Pit is one of the few places we return to. When you pull into the parking lot, it seems like you’ve entered a hipster hangout in Brooklyn. There’s stage equipment folded up at the edge of the lot and open-air seating at the bar and the restaurant. Strings of DIY lanterns hanging from the trees and rafters and  barrels crafted into seats give the place charming, homey touches. In other words, the place is casual and cute.

The menu offers traditional bar food. You’ve got to try the jerk, of course, particularly the lamb. The meat, in whatever form, comes out tender every time we eat here; a consistency in quality that’s rare for restaurants in Kingston.

The prices are decent. We recently ordered onion rings, steamed vegetables, roti, jerk pork sausage, a 3/4-lb. sampler jerk dish (lamb, chicken, and pork), and a few drinks, and the bill came out to about $50.

If you’ve got room for dessert, drive on over to Devon House just up the road for the world-famous ice cream. You can sit in the courtyard with your “kremi” and look up at the stars as you cool off in the tropical evening.

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About Aileen Torres-Bennett

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