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Denver fans of six-year-old Jamaican Grill’s fiery jerk chicken, wings, curry, and other Caribbean specialties are in luck. Owners Tammy Braziel and Randal Whyte have opened a second location—a Jamaican Mini Grill and International Jerk Market—in Lakewood.
Braziel and Whyte chose West Colfax for the new outpost, which opened June 3, for its diversity and proximity to Denver. “Colfax is a big street where there is a lot of traffic and culture,” says Royalty Braziel, who runs the restaurants with her parents and brother, Antonio.
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The International Jerk Market is small, but stocked with plenty, including non-perishable products, a selection of drinks, and a few frozen goods such as oxtail and goat meat, common ingredients for Jamaican curries and stews. Other available imports from the island nation include jerk, ginger garlic pimento, and oxtail seasonings; curry powders; and batter mixes for saltfish fritters, Johnny cakes, and festival dough. As a nod to the “International” aspect of the store’s moniker, there is also an eclectic mix of pantry staples from around the world, from American ketchup and hot sauces to Syrian teas and Mexican masa flour. “We basically opened it to branch out and sell spices, goods, and other items you can buy to cook yourself and can’t get at the restaurant,” says Royalty, who also mentioned that the market is more than happy to take requests from customers for bulk orders.
Inside the market, the walk-up Jamaican Mini Grill offers a takeout menu of favorites from its big sister Denver restaurant, including several iterations of its famed jerk spice-seasoned chicken. You can order it fried, flame-grilled, or, our preference, smoked to perfection. Try the jerk chicken meal: tender pieces of smoked bone-in bird doused in the restaurant’s signature jerk sauce, which comes in mild, medium, or hot. Order it with rice and peas and sweet plantains to offset the spice from the chunky, garlic-and-pepper-tinged sauce. (Warning: The hot iteration induces a sweat.)
If they’re on the menu, Royalty recommends the Mini Grill’s Jamaican patties, an empanada-like pastry filled with jerk or curried chicken or beef and cheese (also available frozen to bake at home), and the oxtail stew. “It’s kind of like steak with gravy,” she says of the oxtails. “They’re so good. They just fall off the bone.”
Sales at Jamaican Grill in Denver were hardly affected by the statewide COVID-19 dine-in closures, thanks to high demand for takeout from the Lincoln Park restaurant. The family hopes that the Lakewood location will do just as well. “People had to have their Jamaican food. We’re the only ones here!” says Royalty.
The Jamaican Mini Grill and International Jerk Market are open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (8580 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood). The Denver location is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. (709 W. 8th Ave.).