Jerk Soul chicken wings photo by David Kovaluk

Jerk Soul will open new location on Cherokee Street


Popular north side modern Caribbean comfort food restaurant Jerk Soul will open its new location at 3108 Cherokee St. on Monday, May 18, complete with a dining room, although its use will be on pause until COVID regulations are further relaxed in St. Louis.


The new 400-square-foot restaurant is notably larger than the former space on Salisbury Street, which started with only a lobby housing a chalkboard menu and takeout window. 


Co-owners Zahra Spencer and Telie Woods plan to introduce dine-in seating to Jerk Soul once COVID concerns have diminished further.


“Right when we open, it will be more of a carryout concept, but we will move to dining in as soon as it’s safe,” Spencer said. “Our first location didn’t lend itself to having longer conversations. There’s a communal feel that comes with sitting down and eating. We were always able to create an atmosphere that is friendly and welcoming, but now that will transcend even more into our new space.” 


Once the dining room does open, Jerk Soul will be mindful of any coronavirus rules.


“Our seating will be in regulation with social distancing guidelines, and there will be signage helping our customers follow these guidelines as well,” Woods said. “We want to bring smiles and good feelings, but we also want to keep everyone safe and healthy.”


The new space will exude Caribbean spirit, bursting with bright colors, light and lively decor, and artwork showcasing the cultural roots of Jerk Soul's fare. Patrons can also expect a more dynamic menu featuring familiar favorites along with additional meatless options and an increased variety of classic Caribbean fare.  


“We always take pride in using the input of our customers and wanted to implement some of their suggestions but also give them a few surprises,” Spencer said.


Spencer and Woods are excited to introduce themselves to Cherokee Street.


“We’re people people. We cook with love and carefulness, but we also enjoy being able to commune and chat with the folks that walk through our doors,” Woods said. “We’re going to infuse love into every dish, and we’re really excited to introduce ourselves to this community.” 


The importance of resilience and community in the face of uncertainty is something with which Spencer and Woods are familiar. They opened Jerk Soul in Hyde Park in 2018, not long after Hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed what had been their upcoming establishment in the Virgin Islands and forced a hastened move to the United States. 


 “These situations aren’t the same, but both are devastating nonetheless,” Woods said. “We want to come out of this just as we came out before: stronger, better, wiser, and, of course, still with our love of food.” 

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