When The Island Spot owner Richard Thomas was growing up in Jamaica, his mother, Mama Joyce, would always make dinner for the family. On Sunday, they'd head to the farmer's market for mango, passionfruit, soursop, and other fruits to make into juice, which she'd serve along with dishes such as jerk chicken and curry shrimp to a crowd of extended family. Today, Richard uses those recipes to give diners at The Island Spot an authentic taste of the Jamaican food he grew up eating—chicken and beef patties, or meat pies, braised oxtails, smoked jerk chicken, and escoveitched fish fillets.
"I would bathe in the rub they put on that chicken," wrote a D Magazine reviewer about The Island Spot's signature jerk chicken. The Dallas Observer named The Island Spot's jerk chicken the best in Dallas in 2012, due in part to its smoky flavors and the experience of digging in: a "burst of perfume that starts as a wisp and builds to a billowing smokescreen."
Diners sipping rum punch or playing Jenga with a plate of jerk-chicken nachos can admire Richard's family portraits and snapshots of his favorite places in Jamaica as reggae, soca, or steel-drum music plays. On the first Friday of each month, a reggae band treats diners to live jams that transport imaginations to a breezy, sun-soaked island.