A recently opened take-out restaurant doesn’t have a conventional name, it doesn’t have a conventional flavor and it doesn’t have a conventional backstory.
Newly opened Caribbean-American joint, Taste So Good (Make You Wanna Smack Your Mama) at 1752 Lafayette Avenue is bringing a necessary spice-up to the Soundview food scene, according to 19-year-old owner Tyshawn ‘TJ’ Jones.
So, how does a 19-year-old open up a restaurant in New York City?
Being named Thrasher Magazine’s 2018 Skater of the Year certainly helped move things along.
Skateboarder by day, restaurateur by night, this Soundview native took up skating in 2010, first learning to keep his balance at Bruckner Skate Park behind M.S. 101.
Long since those days of skating in Throggs Neck and later on 161st Street, TJ mastered his craft, earning sponsorships from Adidas, New Era, Supreme in addition to other major brands while travelling the world in the process. He’s currently in San Francisco to formally accept the skater of the year title.
Not a fan of traditional competitive skateboarding, TJ prefers performing and filming his moves around the Bronx and rest of the city.
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As far as creating his artistic maneuvers, TJ likes to modify standard moves like ollies, a simple jump trick, by adding a new edginess to them.
“I like doing them, but getting really, really high in the air,” TJ said.
In the past, he’s gotten enough air to clear a #6 IRT station platform.
It was only two months ago that TJ opened Taste So Good, to fill a need in the neighborhoods’s gastric choices.
“We have nothing good to eat in this area. We haven’t since I was a kid and it drives me crazy,” he said. “I had to put some great food in Soundview,” TJ said mentioning that he also opened Taste So Good as a career backup.
TJ freely admits that the restaurant’s name, Taste So Good (Make You Wanna Smack Your Mama), is derived from the cult-classic movie ‘Friday After Next,’ starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.
“I’ve loved those movies since I was kid,” TJ said.
His own mother Tamisha works in the kitchen, whipping up some of the best, savory Caribbean treats that the Bronx has to offer.
TJ’s favorite items on the menu are the jerk shrimp and the ribs, but the spicy jerk chicken is also a big-time seller.
Pair that chicken with Caribbean rice and mac n’ cheese to make a lunch that could warm up an ice sculpture.
Being that TJ can’t stand cold weather, some spicy Caribbean flavor is exactly what he’s looking for this winter.
He also wouldn’t mind a second location for Taste So Good.
“Next I want to open a sit-down version of this place, this one is a little spot for the neighborhood to do take-out from, but I’m sure thinking about expanding,” TJ said.
While this reporter wouldn’t even entertain the thought of slapping his mama, the food did in fact taste so good.