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'Rodent Infestation' Helps Shut Jerky Jerk Shop On Devon

By Linze Rice | January 18, 2017 5:50am
 Jerky Jerk at 1217 W. Devon Ave. might not open again, its owner said.
Jerky Jerk at 1217 W. Devon Ave. might not open again, its owner said.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

EDGEWATER — The owner of a Caribbean jerk restaurant on Devon Avenue is weighing whether or not his shop will reopen after it was shut down by the city's health inspector earlier this month. 

Jerky Jerk, 1217 W. Devon Ave., had its license suspended by the city's Department of Health on Jan. 5 after the department got a complaint about the Jamaican-inspired restaurant, city records show. 

Among its critical violations, the inspector found a "rodent infestation," which included more than 300 droppings from mice "throughout the food prep and serving areas." 

Droppings were found "on shelves by the food containers, on top of the lids, inside the oven, under the coolers, on white shelves in the serving area ... inside the washroom on top of the papers," according to the report. 

A log detailing the store's history with pest control was not provided. The store was ordered to clean and sanitize essentially the entire store, as well as have the premises serviced by pest control.  

Ten pounds of food, or about $50 worth, was thrown out due to being stored at improper temperatures, records show.

State records show that a week later, on Jan. 13, Jerky Jerk Inc. dissolved. 

Co-owner Marlon Reid said he thinks he is being "targeted" by competitors who are making complaints to the health department. 

Since June 7, Reid's store has been inspected four times: passing twice and failing twice, resulting in the license suspension after the fourth probe. 

Reid acknowledged the restaurant had failed the inspections, which date to June. He blames competitors for complaining to the city. He said he didn't even show up for the final inspection.

"They keep telling me someone's calling and complaining and I'm like, 'It's got to be a competitor,'" Reid said. "The last time they came, I just told them I'm not coming. ... This last time we failed horribly. It's just getting frustrating."

Reid said he is set to meet with the health department at the end of the month to face his violations and will argue on behalf of his store.

But he ultimately does not know whether Jerky Jerk will reopen or not.

"I'm not sure we're going to open back up because it's just a big headache," he said. But " ... hopefully we'll be back open, if people in the neighborhood still like us. It all depends on what [the city says] when I go down there."

Reid opened the restaurant with Yohance Brown and Nisar Muzaffar, who Reid described as the original "jerky jerks" whom the restaurant was named after when it opened in 2013, according to a DNAinfo story at the time.

Muzaffar left the restaurant in 2016 to open his own similar eatery in Uptown called The Jerk Stop

City inspectors found evidence of a rodent infestation and foods not being stored at the correct temperatures. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

Jerky Jerk's interior. It hasn't been open since it was shut down by the city Jan. 5. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

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