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CC Jerk Box Will Rise From the Ashes

While on vacation, local resident Blaine Campbell’s dream went up in flames, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he’s determined to bring it back. After a devastating fire destroyed his restaurant, CC Jerk Box two weeks ago, Campbell is on the path to rebuilding.

Campbell was in Jamaica with his family when he got a call he couldn’t have imagined. A customer called on the morning of Wednesday, August 10, to let him know his restaurant, CC Jerk Box, a Jamaican cuisine spot in Edgemere, was on fire. Campbell’s family had closed up shop the Sunday before with no issue. Being so far away, Campbell doesn’t know how it started, and there was nothing he could do. But when he returned, he realized he had lost everything.

Campbell, born in Jamaica and raised in England, came to New York in 2000, where he’s lived ever since. With him he brought more than 25 years of experience making jerk chicken and other Jamaican delicacies, using authentic spices and ingredients. Along with others, he decided to put his skills on the grill to work, making it his full-time job. But having different visions than his partner, he split ways and put his life savings into following his dream of starting CC Jerk Box as a family-run business. CC Jerk Box hit the local streets, quickly becoming a go-to as word spread about Campbell’s jerk chicken, seafood, pineapple bowls, sides like mac and cheese, fresh juices and more.

About two and a half years ago, Whitney Aycock of Whit’s End donated a flatbed to Blaine, allowing him to take his business further. When it landed at the Almeda Club on Beach 72nd Street, it became even more popular, but by the next summer, Blaine had found a more exclusive bayside location at 48-06 Norton Ave, allowing him to build up his business and create a tropical oasis near the water. CC Jerk Box was on its second summer at the spot.

On August 10, that dream came crashing down when a fire destroyed everything. Nobody was hurt in the fire and the cause is under investigation. Despite the devastating blow, Blaine says his story isn’t over. “I’m coming back,” he said. “This is my dream. I’m not going to let a fire stop my dream, it’s still inside of me.” Blaine points to CC Jerk Box’s logo, coincidentally, a phoenix, as inspiration. “For me, that means I gotta rise again. Like a phoenix, I gotta rise from the ashes,” he said.

And he’s already on his way. This week, Campbell started the cleanup process. But he’s going to need a lot of help. Family and friends have helped launch a GoFundMe to raise money for Campbell to rebuild and to help support the family in the meantime. With the help of donations of money and building materials, Campbell is ready to pick up the pieces and start over. “We will be back,” he said. And he’s thankful for the support. “Thank you to my Rockaway family,” Campbell said.

 To donate, head to: www.gofundme.com/f/open-the-box

A direct link can also be found on Campbell’s Instagram page: ccjerkbox

By Katie McFadden

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