It all started with a question: why is Jamaican food not catered towards a modern crowd? This discussion turned into an obsession, and the rest was history.
It wasn’t the quality of the food that was lacking, as Jamaican food has a level of experimentation and quality we believe is unique and unparalleled. The problem we faced was having to choose satisfying over healthy and flavor over presentation time and time again.
Jrk! is the creation of three men — a Miami native, hospitality veteran, and a chef. Together, Wayne, Kavan, and Harrison Bernstein have one thing in common: a strong passion for Jamaican cuisine.
The founders took a holistic view of the cuisine and created a concept that builds upon the techniques, flavors, and influences of traditional Jamaican recipes in a modern, healthy, and sustainable fashion.
Today, their food is all about balance, a delicious collision of flavor, health, and satisfaction witht every dish, says Harrison.
It all started with a question: why is Jamaican food not catered towards a modern crowd? This discussion turned into an obsession, and together the trio decided to give the world a taste of all the things they love about Jamaican food.
"The idea stems from our Jamaican heritage and furthering the allure of our cuisine with a brand that is approachable, down-to-earth, and delicious," adds Harrison. "By featuring a variety of customizable and craveable grains and salads, nourishing proteins, decadent toppings, and diverse sauces, our thought process was simple — make Jamaican food more appealing to the masses."
Today, Jrk! their chef-inspired dishes are served within a vibrant fast-casual environment, transforming traditional homemade Jamaican dishes to a modernized health-conscientious fare using high-quality ingredients prepared as bowls for a reasonable cost.
According to Kavan, all of the recipes are traditional dishes, shared by each of the founders' families. Among the most popular offerings is — of course — the Jerk Chicken. It's a prime example, he says, with everything from the way it's prepared and cooked, to the ingredients used, have been passed down by his own parents.
You can even build-your-own bowl; the menu features several proteins to choose from, from Oxtail or Curry Chicken to Barbecue Jerk Shrimp and Pepper Steak served with sides like crispy cassava (yucca) sticks or sweet plantains. For vegans, a meat-free jerk dish is also available, prepared with additional protein-rich grains and vegetables as a signature or build-your-own bowl option.
Whatever you do, don't miss the new Mango Shrimp Bowl. A house specilaty, the dish is sautéed with yellow, green, and red bell peppers and simmered in the chef's special mango sauce, giving the shrimp a sweet and seasoned taste, but without the spice you'll experience with the jerk options. It’s a "kids favorite" choice — and a favorite for customers who want something with a little less heat over the eatery's traditional Jamaican dishes.
Jrk! also offers several in-house patties including beef, jerk chicken, and a vegan take. They're best paired with a happy hour, half-priced Caribe, Red Stripe, or Corona from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays — and your search for the perfect (and healthy) end-of-the-work-week meal is complete.
Jrk! Treats Food Hall (third level of Aventura Mall). 19565 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; 305-974-2480; eatjrk.com. Open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.