As you head to the mountains from central Denver, you’re almost destined to drive past Jamaican Grill. The eatery sits at the busy intersection of West Eighth Avenue and Galapago Street. If you were to walk by, the aroma of curry and spice would draw you in, but when you cruise by in a car, there’s not the same possibility for enticement. Take our word for it: Find a parking space and then push through the doors into a cinnamon- and allspice-scented, Rastafarian-themed dining room.
Grab a table and ask what’s still available. The year-old Jamaican Grill is busy—so busy that the kitchen quickly sells out of the most popular dishes, including the beef patties, a Jamaican specialty similar to empanadas, and curry goat. Then you can begin debating your choices: jerk chicken or jerk barbecue ribs, curry shrimp or oxtail stew, Jamaican fried chicken or pan-fried red snapper, and so on. If you dine midday, the daily lunch specials are just $7.98 and include rice and a side such as creamy roasted plantains or cabbage cooked with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans.
Jamaican food’s trademark is the incendiary jerk spice, and you’ll certainly find that here. But owner Tammy Braziel smartly asks your preferred heat level when she takes your order. Either go for it—mild is too mild—or take Braziel up on her offer to bring out a small dish of the seasoning so you can add at will.
This isn’t fancy food, and Jamaican Grill isn’t about fancy service, but the experience is comforting and real and worth slowing down for. 709 W. Eighth Ave., 303-623-0013
Jerk Chicken Meal $10.75
Beef Patties $2.59
Curry Goat $12.99
Beef Oxtails and Butter Beans $12.89