Popular Southsea chef who runs Natty’s Jerk launches crowd-funder to pay for move to a permanent location
ONE of the city's most loved chefs has been overwhelmed by the support shown from the community after he launched a crowd-funder to open a permanent storefront.
Natty’s Jerk started its journey in early 2019 at pop-up events, such as the Commercial Road food market.
It was a concession at Outside In food court in Middle Street, Portsmouth but then went on to trade from a van on Southsea seafront and at various events across the region and was most recently based out of the kitchen at Acapulco Bar in Albert Road.
Now Natty Crutchfield, who owns the business with his family including wife Sam, has been delighted after the crowdfunder raised £22,750 to take the business to new heights and build a permanent fixture in the city.
He said: ‘I wish I had the words to describe how I am feeling. It is beautiful. The whole community, friends and family, have come together for this. It has been overwhelming. Now the pressure is on to deliver.’
Natty plans to build a Boxpark-style outdoor dining area opposite Portsmouth and Southsea train station that will offer Caribbean delicacies such as jerk chicken and rice and peas – with a rum-based cocktail offering being part of the vision.
The new joint will be called Natty’s Jerk Shack and will be based out of a converted shipping container with a tropical garden-themed decking area, complete with outdoor heaters and weather shelters.
The business has been hugely popular around the Portsmouth area since launching three years ago and even attracts people who drive hours just to get the food.
He said: ‘Boxpark is extremely successful in London, but in Portsmouth we don’t have anything like that, and I really believe that something like it would be a huge success in Portsmouth.
‘We’re a unique concept in ourselves, being a blend of restaurant-standard and street food, so it’s only right that our premises are just as unique. We can’t wait to bring something completely new to the city, we just need that little extra help to get there, but it will be worth it.’
The business has already seen support from big-name brands such as Uber and Natty aims to use the money to completely run the business including building a specialised seating area with outdoor heaters and outdoor seating for both summer and winter and also to employ more staff.
Natty, who has a huge passion for Caribbean – and particularly Jamaican – food is hoping to introduce more people to the cuisine and spread his love for it even further.
He said: ‘I just want people to realise how amazing Caribbean food can be. Almost everyone who tries it instantly falls in love with it, so I want to spread that love far and wide. Even if they don’t come back to Natty’s, if they’re making Caribbean and Jamaican food a common dish in their diets then my job is complete.’
People can donate to the crowd-funder in exchange for rewards at crowdfunder.co.uk/nattys-jerk-southsea