Stepping into Brawta Jamaican Jerk Joint, customers are greeted by the aroma of jerk chicken, reggae music playing in the background, and the beaming smiles from its owners. Christine Allen, who runs the Jerk Joint alongside her daughters Judy-Ann and Dejhani, has been serving “the best jerks in town” at 1567 Grafton Street for about a year.
What’s in a Name?
From its name to their food, Brawta is set on bringing a little bit of Jamaica to Halifax. Brawta is a Jamaican term that means “freebie” or “extra” and is commonly used when haggling with vendors. “I chose to name the restaurant after this to help spark conversation and encourage customers to be inquisitive about Jamaican culture,” Christine explains.
A peek into their menu online shows dishes named after Jamaican patois words. The Trenton is a plate of jerk pork, rice, and vegetables. Their aromatic curry goat meal is the Yea Mon and the tender oxtail stew is the Blow Wow. The Allens especially enjoy when their customers try to order using the Jamaican slang.
Not quite sure what to get? Their spicy jerk chicken meal, the Yaady, is a good dish to start with. Their Jamaican patties, which are hand-held pies filled with beef, chicken, or soy, is also a hit for everyone of all ages. No matter the dish, customers are guaranteed a meal that tastes just like it came out of a Jamaican home. Don’t forget to ask for a Brawta if you’ve ordered food worth more than $30!
Christine attributes the success of the restaurant to the support of her two daughter and close friends who helped her through the challenges in running the Jerk Joint. But for the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented another set of challenges. Brawta quickly adapted to delivery and take-out only in the first few weeks. Since re-opening, they have welcomed back their loyal “Brawta Fam” to dine inside, while being mindful of how they can keep them safe, of course.
Through this, Brawta is making sure their customers are receiving the same quality of food for the same price for as long as they can. Christine says that keeping an eye on their finances, maintaining the quality of the food, and staying true to the brand is the key to Brawta’s success through these difficult times, and would offer the same advice to other businesses.
Christine and her daughters admit that the journey has been both exciting and daunting. “There have been many challenges to overcome but the fact that we are doing something we were dreaming of doing is rewarding,” Christine says.
Lucky for us Haligonians, we get to enjoy the fruits of their dreams of serving authentic, tastebud-tingling Jamaican food. Or as they like to say, serving up “di real ting.”