Community support, viral TikTok video boost Durham’s newest patty shop

Word of mouth recommendations and a viral TikTok video have made for an exciting first few months in business at Durham’s newest patty shop.

Sisters Carlene Honigan and Jacqueline Reid recently opened Patty Gyal at 41 Harwood Ave. S. in Ajax.

The idea for an authentic Jamaican patty shop had been kicking around for years, but the pandemic gave the sisters the time to slow down from their full-time jobs and plan their small business.

“We know that a lot of people in this area were driving to Scarborough or the west end to get patties,” Honigan says. “We have such a variety of flavours, and that really makes us different.”

The Patty Gyal menu features patties in 10 flavours, including beef, chicken, vegetable, jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish and curry goat — even a vegan option.

“Spicy beef will always be the most popular, that’s the original. Second is the jerk chicken,” Honigan says.

The menu also includes Jamaican soups, porridge and jerk wraps, with plans to expand the menu after gauging what items customers are looking for.

Honigan says strong community support has helped the new business get off the ground, along with the unexpected bonus of a TikTok review video that racked up thousands of likes and views, bringing new business through the doors.

Customers often ask the sisters at Patty Gyal for business advice — their best tip is to take the plunge if you have a plan with potential.

“A lot of us have ideas, but we don’t follow through because we don’t like to take risks,” Honigan says. “I get questions every day about the business and I tell people, if you have a good idea, just do it.”