If you’re the kind of person who raises an eyebrow when confronted with a buffet, hold the cynicism: Jacob Restaurant has elevated the format from cruise ship mediocrity and added some winning soul food classics. On Styrofoam platters that are weighed by the pound, diners pile up the jerk chicken, black-eyed peas, yams, and mac and cheese (the latter of which is frequently cited as the neighbourhood’s finest).
Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken
Make no mistake: it isn’t the ambiance of Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken that draws in-the-know locals (including Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson). Host to just a few small tables, it isn’t the kind of place to settle in for a few hours. And yet, all that seems beside the point once you bite into the crispy-juicy-just-generally-perfect fried chicken, which, unsurprisingly, is the house special. Owner Charles Gabriel fries chicken the way his mother used to, and that family prowess is the key to this restaurant’s continued success.
A soul food go-to since opening in 1984, Manna’s now operates four accessible locations across the neighbourhood. Resolutely unfussy and something of a local classic, don’t let its buffet-style serving dissuade. Before tucking into your heaped up platter, note that the banana pudding is worth saving room for.