Yardy Cafe serves up authentic Jamaican food in Ewing. (Photo by Eric Maywar.)

By Eric Maywar

The first thing you see when you walk into the Yardy Café, is a pile of fresh, brown coconuts, covered in wiry hair. They are an appropriate introduction to the restaurant which prides itself on both the freshness of its food and its Jamaican roots.

The food here is spicy, authentic, Caribbean food. The menu celebrates curry chicken, cow foot, ackee and saltfish, escovitch, jerk wings, patties, fried plantains, their signature cabbage, their homemade carrot juice, sorrel, sour sap juice and callaloo.

With a menu so mouthwatering, it is ironic to hear owner David Locke talk about menus. He hates them. Trained at the New York Culinary School and interned at Princeton’s Alchemist and Barrister, Locke wants his menu to be flexible for fresh ideas and fresh food. He is up at 4 a.m. many days to hit farmers markets from Trenton to Philadelphia to find the freshest ingredients. Though there are some regular dishes, Locke’s menu changes daily to reflect the freshest of produce and the freshest of inspiration.

David’s dream all started with friends and family. His dad came from Little London, Westmoreland, Jamaica with only a bag of clothes. Eventually, the whole family followed. David came over when he was 3 years old.

David sees the restaurant as an extension of this dedication to friends and family, just his group of friends has gotten much bigger.

His new, extended family gets together for Monday Night Football with all you can eat snow crabs served until after the last few seconds of overtime.

They also get together on Friday nights for Yardy After Dark, with reggae and food. It is scheduled to end at 10:30, but when the music is hot and the food is good, nobody, least of all David, is interested in closing up shop.

Yardy Cafe is located on North Olden Ave. On the Web: facebook.com/pages/Yardy-Caribbean-CafeCatering-Caribbean-Food-Store. Phone: (609) 323-7847.