A new Caribbean restaurant, Jerk Shop Go, is opening today in downtown Springfield in the space that was most recently occupied by Taste of Jamaica, but owner Kadejia Berkley said it’s purely a coincidence.
Berkley, who is a triplet, originally lived in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and her family opened a restaurant there in 2014. Along with her sisters, Kendra and Kenya, Berkley later attended Western Illinois University and the three young entrepreneurs opened a restaurant in Macomb after finding that the dining options near campus were limited.
That location closed after the sisters graduated last May, and Berkley moved to Springfield to start an internship at the Statehouse. In the meantime, the sisters focused on retail sales and were able to get their products placed in a number of grocery and convenience stores across the Midwest, including several locations in Springfield. But when Berkley had a chance to open another restaurant, she said she couldn’t pass it up.
“We were blessed with the opportunity of coming across a restaurant,” she said, explaining that the Taste of Jamaica owner reached out to her about taking over the space. “We think we have great food, and Springfield is going to love it as well.”
Berkley said she’s been getting the space at 213 S. Fifth St. ready to open in time for the St. Patrick’s Day traffic downtown and giving out samples.
“It’s the perfect location for us, and we’re excited to expand our business.”