St. John Restaurants – Disappearing by the Day

The crummy economy is killing vacation destinations like St. John, especially the restaurants. The past eight months has seen numerous restaurants and some bars shut down, and unfortunately, some of them are my favorites.  Although the villa rental market is only slightly down (I think because they were booked way in advance), the restaurants are dying because the people that are coming are cooking in the villa and not coming in to town.  St John restaurants are expensive – but so are groceries – so I am not sure where the money is being saved.

Closed or Closing:

  • Stone Terrace:  This is really too bad, because Stone Terrace was a really good spot.  I once had the best lamb chops with sweet potato mash ever.  I almost licked the plate clean.  RIP
  • Señorita Pizza:  This is a total bummer.  We used to go here for a quick, cheap and good pizza for takeout.  The best thing about it?  The location – – you could order your pizza and hang at the Beach Bar or Joe’s Rum Hut while it was being made.  I don’t like Ronnie’s or Cafe Roma pizza half as much, so this sucks!
  • Chilly Billy’s:  Home of the famous monkey bread french toast, Chilly Billy’s was always a good spot for breakfast.  The good news is that the owners of The Front Yard have leased it out and are planning a 24 hour restaurant here according to the Coconut Telegraph.  Not sure if there is really a market for a 24 hour place, as Cruz Bay usually gets kind of sleepy after about 11.
  • Sosa’s:  Supposedly this was more a shut down due to the VI Health Board rather than slow business, as Sosa’s was always busy with loud Dominican music and it always seemed a party was happening.  We only went to Sosa’s once or twice to hang and drink, but it was always fun.  The corner is so quiet now without it – a little bit of Cruz Bay died that day.
  • China Shack:  I’ve never been a big fan of China Shack, as I thought the food was mediocre and overpriced, so I wasn’t that surprised when it shut down.  St John has no Chinese food now, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
  • Subway:  Yes, the Subway trailer closed a few weeks ago.  This one seemed like a surprise because the locals loved that place and it always seemed busy.  The owner was actually on St. Thomas and just decided it wasn’t worth it any more to run it, I guess.  Can’t say I’m sorry to see the island’s only chain restaurant go, but for the locals and workers on the island, this was one of the only reasonable places to get lunch.
  • The Front Yard:  Is open until the end of Carnival this year (July 4) and then closed for good. Where will all the trouble go now that both Lizards Landing and the Front Yard are gone?  Methinks Larry’s Landing is the new hot spot in town for trouble…
  • Bringin’ In the Fun: Internet cafe and coffee bar located next the the Banana Deck was only open for a year or so before they gave it up.  I had never been here, but often thought that the location was really the problem, as many different businesses have tried the spot over the years.
  • Satyamuna:  Not closed yet, but recently listed for sale on the St. John MLS, which is usually not a good sign.  I really like the small, vegetarian eatery in the Marketplace for their yummy falafels and veggie lasagna.  I will be sad to see it go if it does end up closing.
It’s interesting to note that most of these restaurants are casual, lower-end restaurants  in the Cruz Bay area.  Coral Bay restaurants so far seem to be doing fine, and the higher-end restaurants (except Stone Terrace) seem to be doing okay as well.  Also, a brand new high-end restaurant just opened at the Wharfside Village called Waterfront Bistro, and seems to be doing well.  The menu is pretty lofty for St. John:  (sweetbreads, duck, foie gras, etc) and although it certainly was good it’s definitely not cheap.  It will be interesting to see how this one does.


One thought on “St. John Restaurants – Disappearing by the Day

  1. So, even though we freeze our kadookulators off 5 months out of the year her in Chi., at least we still have plenty of restaurants.

    Speaking of the crummy economy, who buys all the crap they sell in these overpriced mall stores? I mean, there’s like 400 stores at Woodfield, and it is surrounded by substantial malls on both its north and south sides. Who exactly is keeping all these stores in business???

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