Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Golden Krust is a Caribbean restaurant franchise founded in 1989 by Lowell Hawthorne and his family, who immigrated to the United States from St. Andrew, Jamaica. This franchise, which began in New York as a bakery, was “the first Caribbean-owned business in the U.S. to be granted a franchise license,” according to their website. Golden Krust now has over 100 locations, and on Jan. 7, 2020, Paul and Charmine Campbell opened North Carolina’s second Golden Krust restaurant in Raleigh. The menu at Golden Krust consists of many Jamaican classics such as braised oxtail, jerk chicken, callaloo and curried goat. The restaurant’s name, however, refers to their trademark patties that are filled with beef, chicken or vegetables. I visited Golden Krust on Thursday, Feb. 11 to sample some of the menu and support a Black-owned business.
As an appetizer, I ordered two dumplings. Don’t be fooled by the name, think less dumpling and more hushpuppy-biscuit hybrid. These buttery balls of dough could be a meal of their own and are a great deal at only 85 cents each. They may also be eaten with a liquid such as curry or soup. For my main course, I went with jerk chicken, with sides of fried plantains, steamed vegetables and rice and beans. I ordered the small plate, which came to about 12 dollars, and I could barely finish it. The jerk chicken came with about 3 pieces of dark meat that fell completely off the bone. Tender with just the right amount of heat, I found myself quickly filling up before I had the chance to try my sides. Fried plantains are one of my favorite dishes and are soft, sweet bites of plantain with a dark and caramelized outer crust. The plantains at Golden Krust were slightly underdone for my taste, yet still maintained that golden color. The steamed vegetables were underwhelming and consisted mostly of cabbage, but they were not overpowered by vinegar as some Southern American renditions can be. Regular white rice and black beans were elevated in flavor by a semi-sweet spice blend.
Of course, I had to try a signature patty, so I ordered one filled with spicy beef for $2.70. Unfortunately, it was easy to tell that the patty had simply been warmed up when I ordered it; however, the pastry crust was golden and had a flakey crunch. Additionally, there was not as much beef filling as expected, but the filling had a wonderfully warming blend of spices that can be enjoyed by spice lovers as well as those who prefer more mild flavors. I can see how Golden Krust’s beginning as a bakery used these patties as their claim to fame — I wanted to keep a few in my freezer for as-needed comfort food.
In addition to being reasonably priced, Golden Krust is about 20 minutes south of Meredith and is worth the drive for a warm plate of flavorful Caribbean food. I would absolutely recommend eating here, especially if you’re wanting a filling meal followed by a blissful food coma.
By Ally Cefalu, Staff Writer