Not long after Roian Doctor moved to Spokane from Jamaica about five years ago, he discovered that authentic flavors of his homeland were utterly lacking at restaurants in the Inland Northwest.
“There wasn’t anything even close to Jamaican,” Doctor says. “Food is something that I have always enjoyed doing — I believe I can cook real good.”
Taking matters into his own hands, Doctor and his wife, Sabrina Sorger, launched The Jamaican Jerk Pan food cart about three months ago. Mostly stationed at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Cannon Street, on the south side of Browne’s Addition, the shiny black trailer doesn’t immediately stand out to drivers speeding by on the Sunset Highway. It’s tucked behind the squat, retro building that is home to Cannon Coffee & Cone, but the three Jamaican flags flying atop the cart’s roof do provide some indication of the type of food passing through the ordering window.
The only time the cart might be missing from its current home base is during weekends. Doctor says he’s lately been taking the cart to nearby weekend festivals to take advantage of the extra foot traffic. He won’t, however, be at Pig Out in the Park this weekend.
Doctor does all of the cooking for the business, which mainly offers authentically spiced meats commonly served in Jamaica, including its main dish — jerk chicken.
He points to a red sign in the window of the cart explaining what “jerk” is: smoked meat that’s rubbed and marinated in a specific blend of spices imported directly from Jamaica. The different seasonings used in the food at Jamaican Jerk Pan come directly from Doctor’s hometown of Sav-la-Mar, he says.
The cart’s menu seems to be bare-boned at first glance, but Doctor says that the meat entrees usually change daily — with the exception of the jerk chicken, which is a menu mainstay.
Aside from the jerk chicken ($5.50/plate, $8/combo), the cart offers curry chicken ($5.50/plate. $8/combo), seasoned shrimp skewers ($5.50/one, $12/two), goat, tofu and a few vegetarian and vegan sides ($2), including red beans and rice, cabbage salad that’s served with delicious fried dough fritters, called festival.
The portions are plentiful — the jerk chicken combo comes with a pretty big hunk of meat over a bed of spicy rice and black beans, with a small side of cabbage salad dressed in a sweeter-tasting dressing that complements the smokier flavor of the jerk.
The Jamaican Jerk Pan • Currently stationed at the corner of Fourth Ave. and Cannon St., Browne’s Addition • 11:30 am–dusk • Mon–Sat • 795-9050