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Newly Opened: Juke in Chinatown

Juke Chinatown Vancouver

Newly opened at 182 Keefer Street in Chinatown is Juke, a casual eatery serving fried chicken and ribs.  I must admit that “fried Chicken” are two words that excite me.  Juke separates themselves from other fried chicken joints by offering gluten-free fried chicken.  So, when I heard on social media that Juke had opened, I made it a priority to go and try their food.

Juke Joint

The term “Juke Joints” refer to ramshackle hole-in-the-walls featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking.  They were primarily operated by African American people in southeastern USA at a time when they were barred from most white establishments.  So, Juke Joints became places where people could relax and socialize following a hard week.  Inspired by the spirit of Juke Joints, this new Chinatown eatery aims to have the same kind of inviting, lively yet welcoming atmosphere.

The owners of Juke are veterans of the restaurant industry: Justin Tisdall (formerly Chambar), Bryan Satterford (former Hawksworth sous chef) and Cord Jarvie (Meat & Bread co-owner).

Chinatown Vancouver

Juke Menu

Juke has an all-day takeout counter as well as a full dinner service starting at 5 pm.  The food isn’t Southern-inspired but rather more locally influenced.  On the takeout menu are fried chicken, sticky pork ribs, fried chicken strips, sandwiches and sides (corn, crispy pork slow, gravy and more).  The dinner menu features plated versions of the takeout menu as well as cocktails to compliment the food.

Juke Chinatown Vancouver

Modern farmhouse

The interior of Juke is quite like a modern day farmhouse featuring wood, brick, and metallic elements.

Chinatown Vancouver Juke Chinatown Vancouver

I was quite intrigued by the whimsical wallpaper that I saw in the washroom.

Chinatown Vancouver

What We Tried

My husband and I went for lunch at Juke this week.  We ordered from the takeout counter and then ate in.  We had the Juke Box ($16) which includes two pieces fried chicken, a quarter slab ribs and a side (dirty fries for us).

The gluten-free fried chicken batter for the skin was thinner compared to places like L.A. Chicken and Church’s.  The meat was moist and tender but the fried chicken overall did not as much flavour as other places.  The ribs were sweet and the meat fell off the bone easily.  The dirty fries were pretty crispy and flavourful; the sauce had a mix of hot sauce and chipotle mayo (I think?).

chinatown Vancouver

We also ordered three-piece fried chicken strips ($9) with a sauce of our choice (honey mustard).  For these strips, the batter for the skin seemed to have more flavour than the regular fried chicken since it seemed to incorporate more spices.  Meat was nicely moist and tender.

Juke Chinatown Vancouver

Juke Chinatown Vancouver

Overall Impression of Juke

I quite liked the fun, lively ambience of Juke that captures the essence of old-time Juke Joints.  The food was good but I must say nothing too memorable.  Also a little pricer than your typical fried chicken joint due to use of higher quality ingredients.  Their gluten-free fried chicken seems like a less greasy and healthier alternative compared to ones served at your typical fried chicken joint.  Rating: 3.5/5


Juke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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