San Antonio’s The Jerk Shack Jamaican food stand makes GQ’s Best New Restaurants pre-coronavirus list

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A report by Mike Sutter for the San Antonio Express-News.

Sharing the spotlight among 16 restaurants coast to coast, San Antonio’s Jamaican walkup joint The Jerk Shack has earned a place on GQ magazine’s list of Best New Restaurants.

“New” might be a generous application here, but it’s an honor nonetheless for The Jerk Shack, which opened in 2018, earning praise from the Express-News for its jerk chicken, braised oxtails and off-the-charts chicken wings and securing a place in the Express-News “Top 100 Dining & Drinks” guide. The restaurant also made Esquire magazine’s list of best new restaurants in 2019.

To create the list, GQ writer Brett Martin hit 93 restaurants in 23 cities in the days before the coronavirus pandemic. Martin addressed the sad reality of restaurant life in the middle of lockdown life: “As I type, every one of those 93 restaurants I visited is either closed, limited to takeout and delivery, or, it seems clear, will soon be one or the other.”

The Jerk Shack, at 117 Matyear St. on the city’s West Side, hasn’t reopened its patio just yet, but it is offering takeout and delivery by calling 210-776-7780.

Martin singled out The Jerk Shack for its spicy jerk chicken and “the beefy joy of oxtails,” shining some happiness in a companion piece with a report that chef and owner Lattoia Massey — who goes by the nom de guerre Nicola Blaque — and her husband, Cornelius Masssey, welcomed a baby boy in April.

The Masseys are extending their work family as well, with plans to add a new Caribbean sandwich stand called Mi Roti at the Pearl’s Bottling Department food hall soon.

Austin’s DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya was the only other Texas restaurant on the GQ list.

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