On the Road

Jamaican Beef Patties, Bronx Style

Kingston Tropical Bakery is serving up Jamaican favorites, including their famous beef patties.

Published Dec. 29, 2019.

Kingston Tropical Bakery sits under the train tracks at the corner of White Plains Road and East 226th Street in the Bronx. A sidewalk-facing case filled with golden Jamaican-style beef patties lures customers inside, where shelves are loaded with fresh breads, buns, and other Caribbean treats.

But this is more than a bakery. After fifty years in business, Kingston is a neighborhood institution and gathering place for the local Jamaican community. Manager Caroline Sinclair grew up in Jamaica and worked in banking before a career change brought her to the Bronx thirty years ago; today she oversees operations with a sharp eye on quality.

Kingston Tropical Bakery, managed by Caroline Sinclair, sells beef patties that taste notably of green bell peppers and fresh thyme, with a touch of warm spice and plenty of heat from Scotch bonnet chiles.

Kingston isn't the only bakery selling patties in town, but it's one of the few that makes them from scratch. Others have switched to industrialized methods for efficiency—by Sinclair's account, at the expense of flavor.

“We're very old-fashioned,” she says, her arms filled with fresh Scotch bonnet chiles and thyme. As she eyes retirement, Sinclair is concerned about Kingston's future. “When you get to my age, you have to think about what you're going to do after,” she says with a pensive gaze. “But for now, I love what I'm doing and that makes a difference.”

In the kitchen, baker Lorraine Benjamin prepares massive blankets of dough for the patties. The crust is slightly sweet to help temper the heat of the chiles.

Jamaican Beef Patties

Spicy beef encased in tender crust, these hand pies are your new favorite snack. And lunch. And breakfast.
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