You know those restaurant dishes you come back to again and again and again, even though you should probably try something new? We call this our go-to arsenal — the things we order when we don’t feel like thinking/making decisions because we know they’re consistently awesome.
Since moving to the Twin Cities in 2018, we’ve built quite the armory. Topping our ranks is the slow-roasted jerk pork bowl from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, which comes with coconut rice and beans, fried plantains, vinegary slaw, and your choice of sauce. Ashlea Halpern has an iron tongue and always goes for Kill Dem Wid It!, made with habaneros, charred scallions, soy sauce, and fresh herbs; Andrew Parks thinks ketchup is spicy and opts for the hot jerk BBQ sauce. And we’re both madly in love with the kicky jerk ranch.
Pimento was founded in 2012 by two University of Minnesota grads: Jewish rapper Yoni Reinharz and Jamaican businessman Tomme Beevas (formerly of Cargill and Washington, D.C.’s Points of Light foundation). The duo won the Tyler Florence-hosted Food Network show Food Court Wars a year later, and opened Pimento’s flagship on Nicollet in 2016. Now it’s a neighborhood cornerstone — during the protests, Pimento distributed food, water, and other necessities to anyone in need.
The Eat Street location is as busy as ever, filling an endless line of walk-up and takeout orders. But now you can partake in limited outdoor dining from its stand at Keg and Case in St. Paul, too. (It had been closed for several months due to COVID-19; check their Facebook page for the most current hours.)
And heads up if you’re looking for something to do on the weekend: Pimento hosts a masks-on, socially distanced Patio Vybz event from 4 to 10 p.m. every Saturday, complete with reggae, dancehall, soca, and hip-hop selections spun by Sound of Fujun. We’re heard good things about the Jamaican patties, but be on the lookout for drink specials and Jamaican escovitch, too. The fried snapper, which is usually served at Easter, is topped with pickled vegetables and a tongue-lashingly spicy sauce. 🔥
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar
2524 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-345-5637.