I knew I would eventually get to The Giggling Jerks a new Caribbean style restaurant in my neighborhood opened by brothers Devin and Dylan MacLeod. I was excited about the upcoming Food Network Show, “The Opener” with David Adjey that documents their early days (Adjey=secret crush). I knew I absolutely had to go when I heard they were having difficulty on their street with neighbours petitioning against them having their liquor license between 11am and 5pm (the brothers have requested a license to run between 11am and 11pm). I live in this neighbourhood too, not on their street, but on a street with a corner pub so I think I have a bit of insight. I also think I am within my rights in voicing my concern about restaurant owner’s who feel they are getting pushed out. A recent Ottawa Citizen article explains it well.
Don’t get me wrong I am all about safe neighbourhoods, but I also think that trying to get this stopped is hindering someone’s livelihood and doubting their ability to be responsible to their liquor license privilege before we even get a chance to get to know them. Sandy Hill has a big void when it comes to really great eating establishments, there are only a few, and we are missing out when other neighbourhoods like New Edinburgh, Hintonburg and Westboro are thriving in that department. Good eating establishments add value to neighbourhoods, they normally contribute to the community they are in (Giggling Jerks have already done this in their few short months), they bring people from other neighbourhoods in which allows us to showcase our neighbourhood, and contrary to popular belief they add value to properties (hello have you watched HGTV?).
I am not even going to talk about the students, there is no relation to students here. The students will continue to make loud noise and exist, because we live in the same neighbourhood as a major Canadian university, and please to those of you who do, stop calling it the student ghetto, this area is abundant with families, couples and singles not attending school. ‘Nuff said.
So on to the good stuff. This is a colourful, vibrant space with lots of good music. Let me tell you what I know so far about the food at The Giggling Jerks, it’s good, not just good enough, but really good. I ordered the Cod Fish Fritters with Homemade Mango Chutney and the Jerk Chicken Quesadilla.
The fritters came piping hot with a dark, crispy outer coat (apparently one of Adjey’s ideas… blush). Inside was moist and tender, not at all fishy but just the perfect amount seasoned nicely. The homemade mango chutney was lovely, sweet and full of flavour, it reminded me of biting into a fresh mango. I brought the rest home for toast in the morning.
The quesadilla were nicely grilled, loaded with lots of tender white chicken breast painted in the Giggling Jerks own barbecue sauce, laden with fresh peppers. The homemade salsa was fresh, fresh, fresh and packing some heat!
Other menu items included Coconut Spiked Seafood Ceviche, Island Style Pepperpot Soup, Jerk Chicken and Pork Tenderloin. They also serve all day breakfast.
Devin MacLeod is a nice guy. He is a good neighbour who chose Sandy Hill because it represented to him a similar neighbourhood he once lived in and all the good memories that go with that. He is also an Ottawa boy who grew up in the south and west end. Lets applaud him for having enough wisdom and insight for bringing something fresh to his hometown and providing employment and pleasure for the folks who live here.
The Giggling Jerks
332 Wilbrod St.