Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Our Place...is your place

New location, expanded menu, but still feels like home

Published:Thursday | September 23, 2021 | 12:10 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Cool down with a peach mojito.
Cool down with a peach mojito.
Cocktails were added to the bar at the request of female customers who want to come out early and grab a drink with friends on Wednesdays and Fridays. The strawberry margarita and peach mojito are top choices.
Cocktails were added to the bar at the request of female customers who want to come out early and grab a drink with friends on Wednesdays and Fridays. The strawberry margarita and peach mojito are top choices.
Starting out as a traditional jerk centre, Our Place has kept jerked pork and other jerk dishes as part of its current menu.
Starting out as a traditional jerk centre, Our Place has kept jerked pork and other jerk dishes as part of its current menu.
Fried chicken served with rice and peas could almost be Jamaica’s national dish. From lunchtime until dinner hours, every day of the week, Our Place always has this Jamaican staple on the menu.
Fried chicken served with rice and peas could almost be Jamaica’s national dish. From lunchtime until dinner hours, every day of the week, Our Place always has this Jamaican staple on the menu.
There’s nothing more mouth-watering than Chef Damion Sewell’s juicy steamed snapper topped with pumpkin, carrots and okra.
There’s nothing more mouth-watering than Chef Damion Sewell’s juicy steamed snapper topped with pumpkin, carrots and okra.
Sides such as bammy, fried or steamed, can be had with a meal or as an appetizer.
Sides such as bammy, fried or steamed, can be had with a meal or as an appetizer.
The strawberry margarita is a fruity fiesta that makes it a favourite summer cocktail.
The strawberry margarita is a fruity fiesta that makes it a favourite summer cocktail.
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Our Place Restaurant, Lounge and Jerk Centre believes that sharing a home-cooked meal is fundamental to connecting with its customers, said Operations Manager Lisa Love.

“There’s always food here, up to closing time. We serve authentic Jamaican food daily, and then add a dish that may be considered international cuisine, but something we know our customers will like,” she told Food.

Starting out as a car wash, bar and jerk centre, it became a familiar lunchtime and after-work stop, so it was a shock for many repeat customers when it closed its gates at the former location at 102 Old Hope Road, she said. “The company is about 30 years old. Some people dubbed it 102, but it was always ‘Our Place’, and if you think about it, our tagline is in our name. We make it our duty, also, to remember our customers by their names and faces. Once you come here, you become family because of the atmosphere we provide. Our Place is your place. It’s all the elements of traditional eateries encapsulated under one roof, and that’s what people want in these times, to find one place that feels like home,” Love said.

She shared that there was a need to expand, which resulted in the move to Hillcrest Avenue and making additions to the menu.

PROGRESSION

“It has changed the whole picture of what our place was first – a drive-time rum bar and jerk centre – it’s now a dine-in restaurant, [an] open bar with majority of the staff being the same, and we’ve progressed since 102. Gratefully, we haven’t had reasons to cut staff or pay; instead, it has been more adjustments to the time and increased use of available services for deliveries,” she said. “We listened to the customers and kept the jerked chicken and pork, then added more of the Jamaican dishes to keep it authentic, also seafood, and extending the lunch menu to dinner hours, as well as finger foods like wings, stamp and go, salted fish with bammy and fried, pressed green plantain, and so much more.”

Going through the menu on a busy weekday at lunchtime, while the aroma from the kitchen is blowing through the air, makes it a little difficult to choose, but in a few minutes, any customer can tell what the best-sellers are – fried chicken; jerked pork; the red peas soup; and oxtail and beans, which the restaurant tries to make available on most days, and the steamed fish, seasoned to the bone.

The fried chicken is always fresh. Chef Nicholas Morris, who has been working with Our Place for more than two years, takes the lead on the fried chicken, but he is known for making the tender, well-seasoned oxtail and bean. Meanwhile, Chef Damion Sewell puts the motion in foods from the ocean.

“I’ve only become part of the team over the past week or so, but already feel like part of the family. My speciality is seafood, and for anyone coming here for the first time, I will always recommend the steamed snapper fish. The entire menu offering is tasty, authentic Jamaican food with an option for everybody – foods you probably will cook at home for the family but remember, it [is] amazing food with the mood to match,” he said.

Our Place is currently opened six days of the week; Wednesdays and Fridays, old hits and retro music fill the air, and women can enjoy special cocktail mixes, while on Saturdays, there is live entertainment provided by the D’Kru band.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com