Di Jerk Stop is moving into a new location on Johnston Street after leaving the Wurst Biergarten in October.

The Jamaican restaurant is expected to open in February in the former Peking Garden location at 4416 Johnston St.

"We're going to have a wider menu at this location because we'll have more kitchen space," said co-owner Bobby Marshall. "We were limited with the vegan and vegetarian items we could have at the Biergarten, but we can expand more on vegan and vegetarian dishes now along with the regulars we've always provided at Di Jerk Stop."

Di Jerk Stop's new restaurant space is about 4,000 square feet. Before, the team was cooking in a 9-by-4½-foot space at the outdoor, open-air bar.

The owners said they were unexpectedly asked to leave their downtown Lafayette space in October and had to scramble to find a new restaurant. It made a year already difficult because of the pandemic even more difficult, but their customers continued to support them.

"Up until we closed in October, we were getting some good support from customers," Marshall said. "We appreciate the support we've been getting from then to now."

Marshall and Merick Chambers, who are Jamaican, started Di Jerk Stop in Eunice in 2016 with the help of their families. In 2017, they moved the restaurant into a gas station in Youngsville. In 2019, they moved into the Wurst Biergarten in downtown Lafayette.

Their restaurant offers traditional Jamaican cuisine along with tropical twists on traditional American foods.

Marshall's favorite menu items are the oxtail and curried goat.

"The flavor is just unique with a little spice to it," Marshall said. "It has so many different flavors. I can't explain each flavor that you taste. You have to taste that to know what I'm talking about."

Marshall learned the ropes of cooking from his mom and uncle as a child. As a teenager, he had a part-time job at a catering company in his Jamaican community where he refined his skills.

He moved to Acadiana in 2012 for an offshore painting job before eventually opening Di Jerk Stop.

"I've always wanted to have a restaurant," Marshall said. "It's been my passion from growing up."

Marshall recently created a spice blend that is being sold at local stores. Once he gets the new restaurant up and running, he's also hoping to allow food trucks to use his restaurant's kitchen for prep and storage.

Learn more about Di Jerk Stop by visiting facebook.com/dijerkstop.

Email Megan Wyatt at mwyatt@theadvocate.com.