Tucked away at the back of the Gerrard Square lies Tropical Joe’s. These guys are making a name for themselves by serving, perhaps, the best food court fare in the city. I eat here at least every couple of weeks, and each time I do the queue gets a little bit longer. Hopefully after reading this, I’ll be seeing you in line on a regular basis.
Guyanese favourites such as Oxtail, Goat, Curried Beef and Jerk Chicken are served either as a Dinner (small or large w/ Rice & Peas, Curried Potato and Coleslaw) or rolled-up in a Roti (small or large ~ large pictured below). These days, I’m finding that the large is actually too much food for lunch, though I will tend to order a Goat Patty if I opt for the small… and wash everything down with a Ting (as you do).
Tropical Joe’s has been family-owned and-operated for the past twenty years. It wasn’t until Joe’s son Chris took the helm in 2006 that they moved to Gerrard Square. “This place is home to me,” says Chris. “I try to provide home-cooking that can be enjoyed on a daily basis. It’s what I eat everyday, and the same can be said for our most loyal customers.”
A recent menu expansion has provided the regular customer with more options while attracting the local high-school clientele by catering to their tastes. Jerk Chicken Poutine with Oxtail Gravy is a big hit, as are their Jerk Chicken Sandwiches on Coco Bread. “Jerk Chicken is our number-one seller here,” says Chris. Add it to practically anything on the menu, including one of their daily soups. Be sure to ask for their homemade hot sauce. Everything can be spiced-to-taste by request.
We’re all familiar with the old saying, “if you build it, they will come.” Chris has been working hard doing just that: building loyalty through his Guyanese home cooking. Located in the back of a place that, historically speaking, does not have the most foot traffic, slowly but surely Gerrard Square is moving in the right direction. Word’s getting out that it’s worth the trip to Tropical Joe’s. The addition of some new anchor stores can’t hurt either;)