A Lafayette man who is a Chicago native is bringing flavors of Jamaica to Acadiana with Jerk Xpress, a restaurant he opened in September.
Started by Dwight Stewart and Stephanie Pearson, the restaurant, 1000 W. Simcoe St., is a 400-square-foot carryout joint that also uses Waitr to deliver their Caribbean cuisine.
Stewart, a native of Chicago, said he grew up around Jamaican culture and learned to cook Jamaican food from a 72-year-old named Rector from Kingston, Jamaica. His cousin, Marvis Wilson, who owns three Jerk N Go locations in the Chicago area, was another influence in his decision to open the restaurant.
"I fell in love with the food and the culture," Stewart said. "I moved down here near my sister (Gloria Guidry), and 15 years ago I married a local girl (Pauline) who can cook a mean gumbo. I owned a deli and a detail shop up in Chicago. So I thought maybe I could bring something new to the area."
The restaurant specializes in jerk chicken, which Stewart recommends to first-timers, but also recommends the oxtails. It also servers Jamaican curries and even jerk catfish and tilapia.
Stewart, a first-time restaurateur, said he believes Jamaican food is a perfect compliment to the foods offered in restaurants in Acadiana.
"You'll never find great food anywhere else like you can here, but I wanted to add something new to the flavors Lafayette already has," Stewart said. "The culture here likes spices and flavor, and it's just a different spice and flavor that I think everyone may enjoy."