Jerk Soul is celebrating its second birthday with a new location and — eventually — the addition of dine-in service.
The Caribbean restaurant, a two-time STL 100 honoree, will close its original, takeout-only location at 2016 Salisbury Street in Hyde Park on April 30. It will reopen at 3108 Cherokee Street in Gravois Park.
While Jerk Soul's exact reopening date is not set, Owner Zahra Spencer tells Off the Menu she and partner Telie Woods hope to debut the new location in mid-May.
“We're planning to bring more things on our menu since we can offer a more rounded service, and we're excited about it,” she says.
Spencer anticipates more customers from a more populated area. She is also excited for the relocated Jerk Soul to offer dine-in service once the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic have been lifted.
“Like in the Caribbean, you sit for hours, and you talk about everything under the sun,” she says. “And that's the kind of experience I want to bring.”
If necessary in the meantime, the restaurant will continue to operate as takeout-only at its new location, Spencer says.
While many other restaurants have had to shift to takeout-only model during the pandemic, at the original location of Jerk Soul it has been more or less business as usual.
“We've been fortunate enough to not really be affected so much by the craziness that's happening,” Spencer says. “I feel blessed about that.”
Spencer, a native of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Woods, who hails from Chicago, opened Jerk Soul in April 2018. The couple had originally planned to open a restaurant in St. Thomas before back-to-back Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean in 2017.
Woods left St. Thomas first, crashed with a friend in St. Louis and on his third day here found the space that would become Jerk Soul. The restaurant has won praise for its jerk chicken, braised oxtail and other Caribbean fare.
“We're just ready to bring our A-game to the south side,” Spencer says.
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