The Pepper Pot is the grandfather of Caribbean restaurants in Jacksonville. A walk-up window with brightly painted picnic tables on the side of the building, it's been on Brentwood Avenue, just off Golfair Boulevard, for 30 years.
It’s where you’ll find Jamaican standards like curried beef, goat, chicken and shrimp, with oxtails and jerk chicken offered only on weekends.
In the past 30 years, The Pepper Pot has been joined by an increasing number of other restaurants – De Real Ting Café, Caribbean Express, Rosetta’s, Stars – widening Jacksonville’s island palate.
Now you don’t have to drive all over town to get your jerk fix. You can do it in the same spot when Jacksonville goes Caribbean on Sept. 1 at the city’s First Annual Jerk Food Festival from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Metropolitan Park.
The event will feature live reggae and dance hall music, food booths, craft vendors and a Kid’s Fun Zone, with bounce houses, a petting zoo, face painting, arts and crafts, and a treasure hunt.
Event goers can enter a jerk-chicken cook-off, a pepper eating contest, limbo contest, and a jerk wing eating contest.
Part of the proceeds benefit Jacksonville Youth Works, Inc., which introduces carpentry, masonry, electrical and other skills to at-risk youth, ages 16 to 24, and The Clara White Mission community center.
Free admission with non-perishable food items or $5 donated to one of the partner charities.