When you got to a restaurant and a middle age-ish Black woman is performing the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song “Give It Away Now,” on a Thursday night’s karaoke, oh you know it’s going to be ON! I had a great time at Irie Bar & Grill in the Woodmore Town Center. I met up with Prince George’s Social Innovation Funds (PGCSIF) CEO Tonia Wellons and we made our way to Irie Bar and Grill. We were greeted by friendly staff and promptly seated. The establishment is clean, aesthetically pleasing with its warm woods, wall sconces, and beige tile floors that remind you of the Caribbean and South America. I had heard that the service at Irie Bar & Grill was slow and surly, but it turns out, a service professional, Mr. Herb Vincent of Ultimate Concierce, LLC has been working with the staff and management to produce an all around superior dining experience.
Note to all Prince George’s restaurants and eating establishments: Get and keep your service and menu offerings up to par or the residents will continue to spend their money in DC and Virginia. We’re trying to break out of the “bedroom community” model so make your business a place we don’t want to sleep on.
Tonia, who’d dined at Irie before, and I started with the Irie platter, which included codfish fritters, cocktail patties, jerk chicken drummetts, and plantain. Everything was fresh and tasty. The codfish fritters could stand a tad more baking powder to lighten up the fritter but I was extremely pleased that I could actually taste the codfish. I’m a plantain fan so their dark-fried, sweet plantains made me happy. The patties had a great, flaky crust; I wanted more filling.
My entree was the king fish escoveitch and Tonia ordered the red snapper brown stew. If you don’t like spices and want your West Indian food dumbed down for the masses, please don’t come here. *sidebar* a brief survey of people at the bar found that the drinks they’re pouring are not watered down either AND the happy hour prices were like $5 *end sidebar* Our fish dishes were hot and spicy, through and through. Not so much so that you couldn’t enjoy it but definitely not for the faint of heart. I had never had the green vegetable callalloo (thanks to Lisa Brown), so I had that along with peas & rice as my side dishes; Tonia had the cabbage and peas & rice. I would order callalloo again. It was a nice cross between a mild collard green and spinach. Very nice.
To top the evening off, there was karaoke by audience members and staff (loved that), a live performance by Mustafa Captain Soul Star, line dancing and a impromptu line dance lesson from line dance instructor Denise A Bryant of Music2YourFeet Line Dancing. I tried to learn the “Blurred Lines” line dance but I was just too full to focus. Ha!! Folks, I had a great time with some great people and ate great food ALL without having to leave Prince George’s County. Did I mention that this was on a Thursday night? Did I also mention that there was ample parking and had it not been raining, we could have strolled about the town center until we got tired or had frozen yogurt and then went home? Yup. A good time is at Irie Bar & Grill right in Prince George’s County.