A year and a half ago, chef Omar McKay traded in his modest spot at the Richmond Town Square food court for a sunny brick-and-mortar on East 185th Street. At Irie Jamaican Kitchen
(621 East 185th St., 216-350-6112), he offers diners heaping plates of fiery jerk chicken, supple braised oxtails and sweet shrimp curry alongside the customary warm cabbage slaw, rice and beans.
But he also offers contemporary takes too, like "Jah-potle" style items that serve up those same delicious stews in the now-familiar bowl or wrap form.
"Some people might be uncomfortable trying Jamaican food for the first time, but if you put it in a wrap or bowl, everybody gets it," McKay explained during an interview.
Next up for McKay is a west-side spot near the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Construction is under way at 4162 Pearl Road, with a projected early to mid-summer opening. When it does, it will be the first Jamaican eatery on Cleveland’s west side (as far as we know).
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.