Reporting, writing and photos by Charlee Harris
Have you been to Summit Lake lately? It is slowly becoming the go-to for fun new activities and adventures. And since International Jerk has opened, it’s now the new taco spot! Let’s face it, we can always use a new taco spot.
International Jerk is a food truck with the perfect fusion of Caribbean spice and Latin flavors. Their menu consists of jerk chicken tacos and nachos.
Owners Curtis and Chanell Humphreys wanted to bring the popular Chicago jerk taco to Akron, but with a soulful twist.
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“My husband spent a lot of time researching his sauce and marinade,” Chanell says. “We wanted to infuse different nations and kind of be diverse culturally.”
The husband-and-wife duo opened their food truck during a very difficult time and say they have had a lot of success in spite of the pandemic. “It’s been a blessing, we have been able to operate our business without real issues and having a food truck helps,” Chanell says. The Humphreys closely follow the social distancing guidelines: “We wear proper PPE, which is something we would do regardless of there being a pandemic or not just for safety precautions.”
International Jerk is located on the corner of Old Main Street and Miller Road across from the Akron Masjid. This location is significant because it’s the neighborhood where Curtis Humphreys spent his childhood. The couple was married at the mosque almost three years ago.
“We had both prayed specifically for qualities and attributes we wanted in a mate,” Chanell says. After being introduced by mutual friends, she says they found the qualities they prayed for in each other. “It was plain as day: We were meant for each other.”
“I’ve been blessed ever since I meant her,” Curtis says. “A lot of husbands can’t say that, but I can.”
The pair started their journey together at the Akron Masjid, so it was only right that their food truck be located directly across the street as they embark on this new journey together. The Humphreys have a strong sense of community and hope to be an inspiration to Summit Lake.
“I grew up in Summit Lake and I never seen anyone from here become an entrepreneur,” Curtis says. “For me, it’s about showing the kids here that they can do it to and there is more than one way to make a dollar.”
The couple also hopes to grow their business so that they can hire disenfranchised individuals who can’t otherwise find work.
“I’ve gotten second chances in life. It’s important to give people the opportunity to grow and blossom just like a rose from the concrete,” Curtis says. “Everybody’s turning point happens at different times. Just never give up and stay positive.”
Talking with the Humphrey family was truly delightful, and it was made better when the jerk chicken tacos filled my mouth. The jerk sauce is strong yet flavorful and perfectly complements all of the fresh toppings. If spicy isn’t your thing, don’t worry; you can get it without jerk sauce. I, on the other hand, got extra sauce and jalapenos (I was feeling spicy). The portion size was large and the price was even better.
International Jerk is open on Saturday and Sunday from 11-7 pm. A word to the wise: Get there early because they can sell out.
1147 S Main St., Akron