My list of Rogers Park Gems starts on Howard Street. In the mid ‘90s, Howard Street felt seedy and unsafe, and I felt I was a true urban pioneer to walk inside the Caribbean-American Bakery to purchase a meat pie.
I’ve been buying meat pies at the Bakery for over 25 years - and I’ve taken great pride over the years sharing this Rogers Park delicacy with friends and family. Its worth a stop - and while there, check out their delicious baked goods.
Rogers Park resident and former “First Lady” of Rogers Park, has composed her first Rogers Park Business Review about this prized neighborhood gem!
Everything tastes better in a pie crust - - even Jerk Chicken!
–– by Barbara Moore
rogerspark.com blog contributor
Barb's Business Reviews
This week, as we are all trying to adjust to the unfathomable implications of the novel coronavirus, I am thinking about our neighborhood gems, the institutions that have given Rogers Park its character and flavor. To make sure they are here to stay, I'm going to do my best to frequent those who are open for business and I hope you will do the same. Eat Locally! Hot on my list is:
CARIBBEAN AMERICAN BAKERY
Caribbean American Bakery is the producer and reseller of the finest Jamaican Style baked products in the midwest. They have been a staple on Howard Street since long before the local hot spots. They survived a fire and rebuilt, reinvesting in Rogers Park.
1539 W. Howard St.
Chicago, IL 60626
Phone (773) 761-0700
Do you need a quick bite while running errands or commuting home from work? Or do you want a fun family take home meal that isn't fried and doesn't come from a grocery store buffet? Consider dropping by for quick and friendly take-out service at The Caribbean American Bakery.
The baked patties (hand pies) are lovely pockets of goodness. Whether you want a vegetarian option or are craving curry or jerk chicken, or their most popular beef pies, you won't be disappointed. These flaky pies come in a standard hand size available anytime, or mini-pies (cocktail size) that can be purchased frozen or pre-ordered for a fun tasting menu for your whole family. You'll be smiling and humming Reggae beats by the time you walk out the door and sneak your first bite. The pies reheat easily in your oven, microwave or even on the stovetop, so buy a bunch. Keep them in mind for party take alongs, once this crisis is over. Your hosts will love you for it.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the bakery extends its offerings from patties, bread, cakes and pastries to include jerk chicken and pork dinners with rice & peas and plantains with jerk sauce.
If you aren't traveling to the islands this spring break, Don't Worry, Be Happy! Take a taste of Jamaica over to a Rogers Park lakefront park and savor a perfect pattie or two with jerk sauce and a slice of coco bread - - or a make it a spicy picnic of jerk chicken as you kick off your weekend. Don't forget to add on a bottle of Ting, a sweet, tart grapefruit soda which always takes me back to those island breezes.
Want lots more? Order up a catering tray of jerk chicken or pork -- you can freeze it in portions and enjoy it anytime you need a fix. A dozen patties are great to keep on hand in your freezer too! Please keep their catering in mind once this social distancing is just a memory. You will have happy friends.
Don't forget dessert. I like to refer to the Fruit Cake at the Caribbean Bakery as "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum Cake"! It will warm you right up. Explore all their offerings - including pineapple upside down cake, bread pudding and sweet potato pudding.
I love to sing the praises of our local gems. But here is always room for improvement, so in each feature, I'll note one small improvement that would make the customer experience even better.
Room for improvement: The jerk dinners are still served in styrofoam. A switch to a more eco-friendly or reusable container would be most appreciated!
Barb's Party Tip: Order dozens of cocktail size vegetable pies with jerk sauce for dipping. The perfect office or party snack!