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Small Business of the Month: Jerk Shack

“When you are able to actually sit at the table and there is a seat for you, and you have a place to say something? That’s a game changer.” said John Devine, Jerk Shack co-owner.

Owners Trey Lamont and John DEvine with their Small Business of the Month plaque
Owners Trey Lamont and John Devine holding their Small Business of the Month plaque in front of Jerk Shack. Photo by Hana Tadesse.

Jerk Shack is a one of a kind business, run by one of a kind people. Trey Lamont and John Devine have created a warm atmosphere in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood transporting you to a tropical place, with flavorful deep-fried jerk chicken, and black art decorating the vibrant colored walls.

The owners met through a loan brokering program that Devine runs while Lamont was a partner at the Inn Keeper, the restaurant the occupied the building that is now where Jerk Shack stands. The two say that access to capital was the most challenging part of obtaining shares from their earlier partners of the building, who didn’t understand the mission of having a black owned business, with the target of serving black people.

“I wanted to make sure that we had a place downtown where black people of color felt comfortable and would come back. I feel proud at that opportunity.” says Lamont.

“Having partners that understood the culture was the most important – the experience is different if you don’t come from where we come from, you would be reluctant too.” says Devine.

Jerk Shack goes above and beyond their mission of having a black safe space in Belltown, but also pride themselves in being able to support other black local food businesses when they can like offering Boon Boona Coffee and Metier Brewing. Boon Boona is an Ethiopian coffee shop in downtown Renton, and Metier Brewing is the only black owned brewery in Washington.

“We have become this place that is a gathering place for community. Relationships are built here. All types of people roll through here. It’s not this or that, you have to be accepting of all of it and all of it is accepted here.” Says Trey Lamont.

Jerk Shack is the kind of business that we love to see in Seattle, and we are proud to have them as our Small Business of the month January. Join Jerk shack every Thursday for Sounds of the Shack live music, and be sure to follow them on Instagram and check out their website to keep up with events.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Office of Economic Development’s small business services, visit our  website  or reach out to us at