Over on the corner of 51st and Prairie is a building where the residents of Bronzeville hope food can be used to redevelop the neighborhood. The plan is to turn the building into a food destination for African-Americans in the same way Chinatown is for the Chinese. Titled 'Bronzeville Cookin' and developed by Urban Juncture, Bronzeville Jerk Shack is the first spot thats part of the project to open.
Jamaican Jerk in Bronzeville
Bronzeville Jerk Shack is an ode to the Jerk Centres of Jamaica. When the weather is warm out the windows come down giving the restaurant the feel of an outdoor stall. The menu is pretty simple with jerk chicken and also jerk pork the main entree options. There are a handful of sides but surprisingly rice and peas is not one of them. The nice guy working the register brought me over an order of Festival which is basically Jamaican style cornbread fritters. They were tasty as a dessert.
Jerked meats come in standard ordering formats. I went ahead and got a 1/4 chicken to pair with a 1/4 lb of pork. A well balanced jerk sauce comes on the side. As far the meats I enjoyed them but think the pork might've been yesterdays product. The chicken was much more tender and seemed to be made to order. There was decent smoke flavor in each however I prefer a little more in mine. I will be going back and that's pretty much the tell all as far as the food goes. If it wasn't enjoyed, there wouldn't be a return. The way I see it is this, we need to support places trying to make change if we want to see change happen. Here's hoping this place is the start of a neighborhood revitalization.
Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork
Bronzeville Jerk Shack
5055 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60615