Growing up in a Haitian household, the things I remember most were the language (Creole), the music (Kompa), and of course, the food. Having friends from different parts of the West Indies allows me to appreciate and embrace the variety within Caribbean culture. So “big ups” to my Jamaican bredren celebrating the country’s 56th Independence Day this week.
With that being said, let’s discuss why University City is the best neighborhood in Charlotte for Jamaican food…it’s not up for debate. I’m serious.
9609 N. Tryon St.
On a visit to Charlotte in 2015 before I moved here, I was in the mood for some island food. Thinking I might find one, maybe two options, a quick Google search surprised me. Charlotte had about a dozen places to choose from. I selected Caribbean Hut on this occasion. As I finished my jerk chicken (it was good), I remember the staff setting up for an event. They cranked up the island vibes as dancehall and reggae blared through the speakers of the restaurant along with the occasional sound of an air horn typically used by Jamaican DJs in their music mixes.
440 E. McCullough Dr.
After leaving Caribbean Hut on my way back to Uptown, I looked to my left while approaching the intersection at W.T. Harris Boulevard and Tryon Street and saw a sign for Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill. All I could do is smile.
Established in Jamaica, the business opened fast-food style restaurants in New York City in the late 1980s. Now it’s the largest Caribbean franchise chain in the U.S., with more than 120 stores in nine states including two North Carolina locations in Charlotte and Raleigh. I’m more a fan of Golden Krust as a business than a restaurant, but I always enjoy getting a Golden Krust patty – also available at local grocery stores.
11915 N. Tryon St.
10900 University City Blvd. (relocating Aug. 15 to this address)
By far, my favorite spot for Jamaican food in the QC is Quidley’s Delight. It’s currently located on North Tryon Street nestled in a small plaza between PNC Music Pavilion and Charlotte Motor Speedway, but it’s relocating to the University City Boulevard corridor just east of I-485 on Aug. 15. I was impressed during my first experience with the flavorful food, the portion sizes, and plate presentation. However, this spot might not be the best option if you’re in a rush because they cook to order and it will take some time. The owner, Omar Quidley seems excited about the design of the new location, so you may want to check them out once it opens. I know I will.