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Rodney's Jamaican Jerk & BBQ

Iowa City, Iowa

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Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ is more than just a Food truck and Catering service, it’s a labor of love. It all started when I moved to the United States from Jamaica and couldn’t find any restaurants that served authentic Jamaican cuisine. I decided to cater my own wedding, and from there I started bringing the flavors of Jamaica to the people of my new home. The passion behind our food comes from our commitment to using traditional Jamaican recipes and cooking methods. We use only the freshest ingredients and take great care in preparing each dish to ensure that it’s bursting with flavor.

Whether you’re trying our famous jerk chicken or our savory oxtail stew, you can taste the passion and dedication that goes into every bite. Currently, Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ has one location in Iowa City, Iowa. Our flagship food truck is located on a highly trafficked and well-known throughway – Gilbert Street. I also move around the state from time to time to take on catering and private chef events. I start my business in 2009 and was quite small, and I’ve grown my business steadily over the years.

I am applying for funding to expand the business and increase revenue. With this funding, I will purchase new equipment for the food truck to make cooking easier, enabling me to serve my increasing customer demand. Examples of this equipment includes: an electric steam table, a portable generator, and a 6-burner oven range (with a griddle and broiler). In addition to this equipment, I will he will invest in new ingredients, allowing me to experiment with new recipes and flavors for my customers. I am confident that these changes will have a significant impact on my business.

With more cooking space, I’ll be able to serve more customers and reduce wait times, leading to increased sales. And by experimenting with new recipes and flavors, I can attract new customers while retaining existing one who will all come back for more. I am excited about the potential for growth and is grateful for the support of my community.

Specifically, these Kiva loan funds will go toward: Ultra quiet portable Generator; Electric buffet countertop food warmer; Social Media Ads; and Items Taxes.

My entrepreneurial journey began unexpectedly at my own wedding over a decade ago, where I was both the groom and the cook. After serving my authentic Jamaican cuisine at the wedding, a guest suggested I start a catering business – she even offered me the opportunity to provide food for her husband’s upcoming retirement party in my home city of Iowa City, Iowa. I accepted my first catering job, and Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ was born.

Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ has now grown into a full-service food truck and catering company. Rodney’s offers original and authentic Jamaican food, alongside an array of American classics, such as BBQ. I make my own Jamaican Jerk sauce using a family recipe and now have four additional sauces (including my signature BBQ sauce that I created since coming to the United States). For the past decade, I have been participating in the North Liberty Blues & BBQ Festival; a local ‘summer tradition of live music, kids’ fun, mouthwatering barbecue and craft beer.’ Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ has recently catered for the Iowa Women’s Basketball team and is a strong supporter of Hawkeye athletics. Our food is 100% original and authentic Jamaican food, cooked by a Jamaican with love.

I remember watching my parents work hard to provide for the family. Inspired by my parents’ entrepreneurial mindset and work ethic, I knew I wanted to start a business from a young age. For example, even though my mother was busy looking at the home and us kids, my mother still found time to sell meals and cakes to our island community. Now, I envision opening a catering house and creating a Jamaican-themed event space, all while expanding my food truck services. My goal is to scale to become more than just a local brand. At Rodney’s Jamaican Jerk & BBQ we sincerely value making customers feel comfortable.