Previous BROOKLYN, Ohio – If you are searching for reliable Jamaican fare, a very simple Google search for “Jamaican dining places in Cleveland” will pull up a list of about 20 institutions.

You’ll come across the requisite jerk chicken, rice and plantains on each and every of their menus – authentic fare discovered on the island by itself. But if you are searching for a flavor of Jamaica with a wonderful twist, you are going to want to check out out one of the 3 spots of Irie Jamaican Kitchen.

To celebrate Nationwide Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we questioned our visitors wherever to obtain the greatest Caribbean meals in Northeast Ohio. Nominations quickly filled our inbox, with Irie Jamaican Kitchen area obtaining an overpowering range of nods.

“Irie” – in accordance to the Urban Dictionary – is Rastafarian for “a condition of peacefulness and harmony with one’s self or the world.”

For Omar McKay – owner and executive chef of Irie Jamaican Kitchen – remaining correct to one’s self is what drove him to build Irie Jamaican Kitchen and to put his personal spin on his home country’s delicacies.

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

Executive Chef/Owner Omar McKay of Irie Jamaican Kitchen keeping a Jerk hen bowl, a purchaser favorite.
– Image taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

McKay arrived to Cleveland as a teen, when his mother immigrated from Jackson City, Jamaica, for a task possibility.

McKay discovered to cook in his mother’s kitchen area, fueling his wish to produce his individual recipes and open up a restaurant. Even though he required to share the flavors of his heritage, he did not want to mix in.

Working with the capabilities he produced at Tri-C’s Culinary Arts University, he fashioned a menu that was all his personal. And Greater Clevelanders have responded, in a huge way.

McKay begun in an previous White Castle site on 621 E 185th St. on the border concerning Cleveland and Euclid. He has since additional areas at 4162 Pearl Rd. in Old Brooklyn and 837 W. Market place St., Akron. The Akron restaurant characteristics a patio and presents live audio on the weekends, the place McKay suggests “people go for the Jamaican ambiance.” A fourth spot is “coming soon” to Shaker Heights at Chagrin and Lee Roads.

What is distinct on the menu?

The flavors of McKay’s food items are genuine to his heritage – hefty on the meats, rice, cabbage, and plantains – as well as the spices — that native Jamaicans take in day by day.

“There is not a large sector for indigenous Caribbean folks in Northeast Ohio,” McKay stated. “Most of the Caribbean people who are living listed here, do this type of cooking at property, so we don’t appeal to a whole lot of islanders. We had to discover to cater to the atmosphere. We draw in people today from all walks and nationalities in Cleveland, which is not a little something you see in all Jamaican dining establishments in Ohio.”

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

You can get hen or beef patties for $3 from Irie Jamaican Kitchen area
– Picture taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

In addition to full meals, Irie attributes selfmade lemonades built with tropical fruit blends and meat pies built with beef or rooster and baked to perfection.

Though most Caribbean eateries serve their meats bone-in, McKay serves his proteins off-the-bone. And whilst there are the traditional sides, clients can also opt for to enhance their main dish with mac n’ cheese or salads.

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

Oxtail bowl – with rice & peas, cabbage, plantains, and cucumber salsa is $17.10 at Irie Jamaican Kitchen area situated at 4162 Pearl Highway in Previous Brooklyn. Two other places at 621 East 185th St. and on 837 W. Industry St. in Akron.
– Photograph taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

Most Jamaican dining establishments deliver complete plates to your desk. Irie Jamaican Kitchen stands aside mainly because of its toppings bar, with fresh new veggies and housemade salsas.

“Just notify us what you want, you opt for for by yourself,” McKay mentioned. “I believe that can make us a small much more welcoming, a lot more entertaining, generating us a tiny unique – just a tiny flavor of the island.”

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

Guiding the counter at Irie Jamaican Kitchen located at 4162 Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn
– Image taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

McKay takes advantage of all the conventional spices of the island, but his meals is major on fresh new herbs, garlic and thyme. “I make contemporary foodstuff, that I do not assume is going to flavor like something else,” he mentioned, “but I go about items a small differently, fusing the classic flavors of Jamaica with my personal twist.”

McKay’s largest sellers are his jerk hen and oxtail – both of those conventional dishes. “That’s what persons know and occur in for, but we are hoping they will occur again to try out something just a very little distinct,” McKay said.

The jerk chicken carries the greatest degree of heat, whilst the oxtail is a deep savory dish – the two with loaded flavors. On the lookout for a thing with a kick, but not in excess of-the-top rated, purchase the curry hen.

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

Jerk hen bowl – with rice & peas, cabbage, plantains, and jerk salsa is $8.75 at Irie Jamaican Kitchen located at 4162 Pearl Highway in Old Brooklyn. Two other places at 621 East 185th St. and on 837 W. Market St. in Akron.
– Photograph taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

Seafood is typical to the Caribbean diet. People looking for a flavor of the sea with a kick have to have to plan a couple of added times because the rapidly-informal restaurant cooks its shrimp dishes to get to assure the optimal taste and texture.

“People are not eating-in significantly any more these times,” McKay said, “so we are earning sure our places to eat are cleanse and friendly and centered on offering the finest conventional flavors they are in search of for when they occur by way of the doorway – clean and flavorful is the hallmark of our foods.”

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

Curry rooster bowl – with rice & peas, cabbage, plantains, and mango salsa is $8.75 at Irie Jamaican Kitchen positioned at 4162 Pearl Street in Old Brooklyn. Two other destinations at 621 East 185th St. and on 837 W. Market place St. in Akron.
– Image taken by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com