Thank the Bob Marley God: ReCaFo, Jamaican Food Joint, Opened in Bushwick

Photos by Angela Altus for Bushwick Daily

You’re in for an irie time once you step inside the orange-colored walls of ReCaFo, a new fast-casual food place on Broadway and Arion Pl in Bushwick.

With reggae on the speakers and Bob Marley on the walls, it’s no mistaking ReCaFo (acronym for “Real Caribbean Food”) for Jamaican. And trust us when we say that’s a good thing, as there are few other places in Bushwick to get your fill of authentic jerk chicken and patties.

“Bushwick is a very diverse community but with few Jamaican restaurants,” says Dave Smith, ReCaFo’s VP of Locations and Marketing. “We saw a need for something different.”

The space itself is quite narrow and small. Enter the corner location, you’ll find a smattering of seats behind a counter of prepared food, served cafeteria-style. While the daily specials change – today it’s jerk pork and peppered steak – the regular menu hits all of the pleasure spots. Jerk chicken, oxtail, and curry chicken are mainstays, plus a veggie option with seitan.

Jerk chicken served with rice and plantains

Oxtail served with coconut rice

David Wisdom, a native Jamaican who moved to New York in 2011, started ReCaFo in 2013. His passion for the tastes of home led him to opening his first location in Long Island City, after debuting with a 10×10 stall the LIC Food & Flea. One year later, he opened his second location in Sunset Park. In December, he did it again in Bushwick. To say David’s formula is working would be an understatement.

On my visit, the smiling founder and CEO is behind the glass counter serving hearty portions of chicken, rice, salad and sweet plantains. When I complement his jerk chicken and ask about the recipe, he replies “I protect it with my life.” Good answer.

CEO & Founder David Wisdom

While you could consider ReCaFo to be fast food, everything about this cheery spot is the antithesis of typical fast food joints. The service is friendly and the food is of a high quality and very tasty. Grab a Jamaican Kola or a sorrel and ginger juice from the refrigerated case, a filling but not heavy or greasy meal, and settle down for a pleasing lunch.

The motto at ReCaFo is “irie.” Irie (pronounced “eye-ree”) means cool vibes, Dave tells me. “It’s about everything: cool food, cool music and cool vibes.”

ReCaFo 899 Broadway, Bushwick. Hours: Monday-Sunday 11 am – 10 pm.

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