It may be called Good To Go, but this West Rogers Park Jamaican eatery has a breezy ambiance that encourages guests to stay and relax amid bright floor tiles, high ceilings and warm lighting. Rhythmic music transports patrons to a sunny locale beyond the bustling Howard Street location. In fact, look for the flourishing greens on the sidewalk outside (bordering tranquil outdoor seating) if you're a first-time visitor to this three-year-old husband-and-wife enterprise.
As for the authentic Jamaican cuisine, it's as soul-soothing as the atmosphere. Opt for the jerk chicken wings (or, for the wildly famished, a whole bird for $14). Vegetarians should go for the veg special, replete with steamed vegetables, delicious sweet fried plantains and a hefty bowl of aromatic rice cooked to fluffy perfection and accompanied with raisins. Cultural authenticity lies in dishes like curried goat, oxtail, and cow foot; as well as numerous seafood options, including jerk shrimp and curried conch. Check out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning specials—ackee and saltfish with a fried dumpling ($12), or the plantain porridge ($4.50-$6.50).
Don't miss the fresh fruit juices and smoothies, either ($3-$5). The homemade ginger beer with lime ($3.00) is particularly tempting, although availability is sporadic. The carrot juice with lime and ginger is a surefire bet; get a hefty, umbrella-topped glass for $3.95. The pure, untainted juices will please the health-conscious: choose from "Jungle Juice," chock-full of freshly blended apples, ginger, celery and cukes; or the "Eye Opener," which features celery, carrots, and beets. The "Island Fruit Smoothies" run the combination gamut: blend strawberries, pineapples, papayas, bananas, mangoes, vanilla yogurt, soy milk, ginger or honey just about any way you'd like.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: August Evans