While it may not yet have achieved the popularity of the taco or the pizza, the Jamaican beef patty is expanding its reach.
It has made its way out of Jamaican kitchens and bakeries, to immigrant enclaves and bodegas, and into major retailers like Walmart and Costco. The New York City school system served more than three million during the 2016 fiscal year.
In Lawrence, Kan., Jamaican beef patties are on the menu at Lucia Beer Garden & Grill. They are particularly popular among the city’s college students, said the owner, Mike Logan, attributing some of its success to convenience. “You can hold it in one hand,” he said. On Friday and Saturday nights, customers can even buy them through a walk-up window.
Mr. Logan, who is from Lawrence, was introduced to Caribbean cuisine long before he opened his restaurant in September, but it is relatively new to many of his customers, so his menu also includes Caribbean tacos and jerk chicken egg rolls — the “Americanized items,” he calls them.
He said he owed his passion to George Ricketts of G’s Jamaican Quisine, in Kansas City, Mo., who introduced him to Caribbean food.
Lowell Hawthorne has been introducing Americans to Caribbean food for decades. In 1989, he took a gamble on the food of his homeland, Jamaica, in the hopes that many Americans would embrace it, opening a bakery in the Bronx. He and his family watched it grow. Now, as president and chief executive of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, he oversees 120 restaurants in nine states, with seven more shops expected to open this summer.