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People's Choice Jamaican Stirs It Up

Baby, it might be cold outside, but inside People’s Choice Jamaican restaurant in Norwalk, the Foster family is heating things up. It’s about as unassuming a place as you’re likely to find. In fact, if you’re not looking for it, it’s easy to miss it completely. But once you have this island eatery in your sights, you’re not likely to overlook it again.

“It will be nine years in March that we’ve been here,” says Dudley Foster, the smiling, affable owner and chef at People’s Choice. Nine years? So, why haven’t I heard of this place before?

“I don’t know,” Dudley says. “A lot of other people have,” he laughs. “We get people from all over the county – Greenwich, Bridgeport, Stamford. And all kinds of people, not just Jamaicans. We have Spanish customers, Chinese, Filipinos – we’re international.” His soft laughter settles over his face. But I want to know what’s good.

“The oxtail and the jerk chicken,” Dudley says. His daughters, Chelcia and McKayla agree. “I like the jerk chicken,” Chelcia, a high school senior, tells me. “The oxtail is my favorite,” says McKayla, a high school freshman.

“I like the fish,” a customer named George chimes in. I ask if he means the salted fish.

“No, no,” Dudley corrects me. “He’s talking about the red snapper.” Dudley thanks George by name as he pays and heads out into the snowstorm.

After all these recommendations, I order the jerk chicken and a spicy beef patty, which is a blend of ground beef and spices cooked inside a flakey pastry.

Ten bucks and five minutes later, I open up my bag of goodies to dig in. The jerk chicken is deliciously mellow, with subtle notes of clove and cinnamon dancing around each other. The rice and black beans on the side absorb some of the jerk spices, which is just fine by me. And the fried plantains are enough to transport any snow-weary Norwalker to sunnier days.

The spicy beef patty, though, is what really satisfies my soul. The crusty pouch holds a smoothly blended spiced beef mixture. Like the jerk seasoning, the spicy beef patty has a kick, but not to the detriment of flavor, and I tell Dudley.

“You have to be very careful with the spices. Not too much of the peppers,” he says of the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet.

Warm up your day at People’s Choice Jamaican restaurant. Find them at 77 Wall Street, in Norwalk. Dudley and his crew also cater and offer free delivery with a minimum $20.00 order.

Have you tried People’s Choice? Do you have a favorite local ethnically authentic eatery? I’d love to hear about it. Post a comment here, or email me at mmorelli@mainstreetconnect.us.

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