This little Caribbean food trailer packs some serious flavor – Dig Bos

Jamaican Beef, Jerk Chicken and Prime Patties in a Parking Lot

I first spotted the trailer at an arts and culture festival outside of Boston. There wasn’t much real culture otherwise, but from my first taste of one of the bowls prepared by Work Hard Eat Good, I knew my time was well spent. Their Jamaican-style BBQ beef with vegetables and Cajun seasonings hit the mark. I needed to know more about the origin of this food.

Jabriel, the hardworking chef behind the great dishes, is the son of Jamaican immigrants. Raised in Dorchester, his parents ran a seafood restaurant. He has a life sentence in the food business, but says having a food trailer wasn’t his first career idea. He worked in the kitchen along the way, but it wasn’t until he “tried pretty much every job out there” that his path took him to mobile food service.

About 10 years ago, along with his business and life partner Shavonda, Jabriel started working small restaurant jobs. To make things legit, his team started cooking in a rented commercial kitchen at a VFW venue in Medford, where they still operate today.

After a few years and some steady business, they bought their little trailer. Different from a food truck, the Work Hard Eat Good unit is simple, basically a window just for serving. All cooking is done off-site; food is kept hot on a steam table or cold in a small refrigerator.

Before even tasting his beef patties or his jerk chicken, At Jabriel’s truck stands out, with photos of Caribbean bites to make your mouth water. My beef was extremely tender, the rice fluffy and well seasoned. It was simple, somewhat resembling a home-cooked meal. On site, they also offer assorted jerk dishes and fresh vegetables; once you enter their food menu, however, the options are more extensive – tofu, sausage, West Indian specialties, the works.

And you don’t have to randomly find them in a parking lot. Jabriel and Shavonda throw parties, and on weekdays bring their operation to locations all over the city. Check their website for daily updates and be on the lookout for that little trailer that might.

Michael M. Tomlin