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Owner of Pepperpot restaurant says Juneteenth is a chance to thank patrons

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 19:40:44-04

Dwight Jackson moved Pepperpot into his new location on Martin Luther King Drive just a few months ago.

It's a big step up from selling meals in the parking lot of his former job.

"I would make more money for those four hours before I go to work than I would make for the week," Dwight recalls.

Eventually he quit that job and started cooking out of his house. But the demand was so high, he decided to rent a space.

"We outgrew [that space on] Capitol probably in our first six months, first year," Dwight says.

Dwight found his new place on King Drive — and pinches himself every day.

"You've got to realize, this is me for real," he says.

For Dwight, Pepperpot is a chance for him to share his Jamaican culture with the rest of the city. That includes the history of some of his amazing dishes.

"The cow feet, the cow belly, and the cow tongue, these are the stuff that they threw away and this is what the slaves used to eat," Dwight says. "Because they couldn't afford, they couldn't get none of that stuff, so they'll eat these parts."

Now, oxtail is the part everyone wants to eat. It's one of Dwight's most popular dishes.

"We make this more like a stew with a gravy and over the rice. Ooh, they love it!"

Dwight says if customers didn't know the food's background, it's a way to start a conversation. And so are these murals showing the faces of Jamaica and its natural beauty.

"One of the things, people walk through and they look at the pictures on the wall, that's a conversation they want to have, so there's many things they would ask the bartender or server," Dwight says.

And those conversations — and the food they're about — help bring people together.

"To see my growth and to see where I came from, it is a blessing," says Dwight, "I keep saying, praising the people of Milwaukee because they are the ones who make this happen."

Dwight says when he first opened Pepperpot, he hoped to be off work and able to enjoy Juneteenth Day. But he says now that he's working on King Drive that goal is out the window!

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