The Kingston Tropical Bakery in the Bronx, New York, is extremely popular with the community, offering Jamaican patties and coco bread that are “worth the wait,” according to one customer. The bakery’s manager, Caroline Sinclair, says there have been few changes in its operations since it opened 47 years ago, and now it is the subject of a feature article in the New York Times.
The business was opened in 1970 by Sinclair’s sister and brother-in-law to supply the Caribbean residents of what was then a chiefly Jewish, Irish and Italian neighborhood with the island foods they loved. Now, the neighborhood has several businesses that cater to the larger West Indian population. When Sinclair began working at the bakery 30 years ago, a beef patty cost 65 cents; it now sells for $2.25, or $23 per dozen.
The patties are made by bakers working two shifts, with the vegetable and chicken patties made in the morning and the beef patties made in the afternoon. All are handmade with fresh thyme and Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers. The patties are never frozen and are made at the bakery with a small hand-crank machine used to form them.
The bakery was featured on the Travel Channel in 2016 in an episode of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” and following the episode, the bakery received many inquiries about the patty maker from all over the world.
In addition to patties, customers patronize the bakery for bread, buns and copies of the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. Best selling products at holidays include fruit cake and duck bread. People also come in to order sandwiches, like the meatloaf sandwich made of minced beef stuffed in sweet coco bread for lunch during the work day.
Sinclair believes the success of the bakery comes from its consistency; many customers remember visiting as children and continue as customers today.