In a tourist town, the midsummer go-to eats and drinks are pizza, burgers, beer and ice cream. Indeed in Jasper, a town of just 4,600 permanent residents inside Alberta’s Jasper National Park, there are at least six pizza joints.
So I’m thrilled to discover, on a little side street off Jasper’s busy main drag, a hole-in-the-wall place specializing in jerk chicken. The Spice Joint is a family business serving authentic Jamaican fare.
How authentic? Consider that co-owner and chef Dwain Gilzene learned to cook as a teenager in Jamaica. After a number of years cooking for upscale Jasper restaurants, he and his wife, Isis, opened The Spice Joint in 2018, offering food based on his recipes.
I go for a spicy but not overpowering jerk chicken sandwich ($10) and a beef Pattie. My companion chooses a jerk chicken Caesar salad wrap ($12). It’s a great, flavourful lunch that doesn’t break the bank in said tourist town.
The Spice Joint’s rotating specials include rice and peas, Rasta greens and coconut prawn soup. Sunday dinners point to long-term plans to also open a full-scale Jamaican restaurant.
Maybe sometime in the future they’ll have jerk chicken pizza.
The Spice Joint
614 Connaught Drive, Jasper, Alberta
Weekdays 10 am-9 pm. Closed weekends