San Francisco is a food lover's paradise. So it might come as a surprise that Jamaican food is extremely hard to come by. Even the few authentic Jamaican restaurants that exist in other parts of the Bay Area are shuttering their doors.
Enter Shani Jones and her catering business turned brick-and-mortar, which has brought the fiery cuisine to the heart of San Francisco: the Ferry Building.
Jones, a San Francisco native who grew up in Ingleside Terraces with seven siblings, was constantly surrounded by Jamaican food prepared by her mother, Peaches. Yet once she stepped outside of her home, the smells and flavors of Jamaican cuisine were nearly impossible to come by.
So Jones launched her own catering business out of her childhood home and called it Peaches Patties, in honor of her mom. Little by little, word began to spread that there was now somewhere people in San Francisco could experience the tastes of Jamaica—beef patties, slow-cooked oxtail, jerk chicken, Rastafarian stew.
Even while her catering business was taking off, Jones still experienced the ups and downs of owning her own business in the food industry. She would drive for Lyft and Uber to supplement her income while she pursued her Ph.D. in organizational leadership and management. Eventually, she found herself at La Cocina, a nonprofit in San Francisco solely dedicated to helping minority women launch their careers in the restaurant industry.
Through hard work, persistence and a stubbornness necessary to make it in the food industry, Jones opened a small food kiosk at the Ferry Building in January, making it one of the first places in San Francisco where people can find Jamaican staples. Jones aspires to make Peaches Patties the biggest patty company on the West Coast.
Mike Kuba can be reached at [email protected]