Given the obscenely cold weather we’ve been experiencing the past several weeks, I’m willing to bet that you have found yourself wanting to somehow get away from it all. If you’re like me, and you find constant trips to Starbucks and hours spent couped up in your cozy dorm or apartment ineffective, leaving you with the desire for something new, then fear not. There is a better option. Since most us have neither the time nor money to head to the Caribbean for the weekend, why not take a mental break from the cold by experiencing a little piece of Jamaica right here in Ann Arbor?
Located on South Thayer just down the street from North Quad and directly across from the MLB, Jamaican Jerk Pit offers truly authentic Jamaican food in an intimate and informal atmosphere. Having walked by it for years on my way to classes or the dining hall but never given it a shot, I was finally lured in on a cold afternoon by the delicious smells radiating from within. I wasn’t disappointed.
The interior is reminiscent of a beach-side cafe, complete with cheesy fake palm trees in the upper-level lobby as well as small tables and a walk-up counter in the basement dining area. The walls are similarly decked out with the flags of Jamaica and other Caribbean countries as well as plenty of pictures of Bob Marley. Though not exactly paradise, it definitely makes you feel as though you’ve left Ann Arbor and the stresses of school behind, if only for lunch. The smooth reggae music constantly playing in the background only adds to this relaxed vibe.
While the atmosphere is great, it’s the food that truly gives the place authenticity. Almost all the items on the menu can be purchased for under $10 with the exception of the larger dinner entrees, of which the most expensive is less than $15 (although it’s best to go around lunchtime anyway). Among the main lunch options are fried plantains for $4.50 and jerk chicken or pork for $9.50 and $11.50 respectively, all served within 10 minutes of ordering. Sandwiches, of which I highly recommend the jerk pork, are served with fries and a choice of toppings and go for even less (all under $8.50). The jerk spices that season these dishes and give the joint its namesake are extremely savory and different than anything else in town.
The Jamaican Jerk Pit creates a feeling of escape and authenticity within A2, helping to make it the closest you will get to actually being in Jamaica in the middle of the polar vortex. So if you’re looking for a creative way to beat the cold or to try something new, give Jamaican Jerk Pit a try.
Location: 314 S. Thayer Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Fri: 11:30 am – 10 pm, Sat: 12 pm – 10 pm, Sun: 12 pm – 8 pm