Jerk Soul brings island spice to Hyde Park

HYDE PARK — Newcomers to the Hyde Park community, Jerk Soul restaurant owners Telie Woods and Zahra Spencer add some island spice to north St. Louis. Opening the door earlier this year, Woods and Spencer came across the storefront space their third day in St. Louis after being displaced because of the previous hurricane season that destroyed their home and business plans in the Virgin Islands. Just barely escaping Hurricane Maria, Woods took a boat from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico and ended up on the last flight out before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. And, well, the rest is Jerk Soul history.

Conveniently located in the 2000 block of Salisbury, Jerk Soul restaurant has the advantage of the foot traffic from residents and those who work in the area. The jerk tacos and banana bread pudding cheesecake alone will put and keep you in the best mood. Other featured dishes include oxtails, saltfish, jerk chicken pizza, jerk philly and several vegetarian meatless options, too. The menu fuses its owners’ backgrounds — Woods is from Chicago and Spencer is from the Virgin Islands.

Of course, every chef has a favorite dish they like to prepare, and when asked, Woods confessed his is the jerk pizza.

“I was born and raised in the pizza capital of the world, Chicago. I know pizza and did my best to include top-notch ingredients in our jerk chicken pizza. It’s very good, smoky jerk chicken, tangy sauce, with Wisconsin mozzarella. I believe it’s the best pizza in the city,”, said Woods.

While north St. Louis isn’t always shown in the most welcoming light, transplants Woods and Spencer still decided to give this community a try.

“We are happy to be a part of the revitalization of the Hyde Park neighborhood and plan to expand our brand. Our mission is to help nurture the good people of this community with good food,” said Woods.

Ashley Winters

Ashley Winters is a staff reporter at The NorthSider. She's a north St. Louis native and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. In the near future she plans to write and publish children's books. She can be reached at

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