Familiar Faces Opening New Restaurant at Mongoose Junction

Mongoose Junction Nov 20 2018

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! We have such great news to share with you today!!

So back in August we told you how Ocean Grill decided to close its doors for good. We’ve received a ton of questions about what’s happening with that space, and we’ve finally received the go ahead to share the great news with all of you today.

The new spot is going to be called 18°64°: The Restaurant, and it’s being brought to you by the talented folks over at Extra Virgin Bistro. But no need to worry, Extra Virgin isn’t going anywhere. 18°64° will be a sister restaurant of sorts, and from what we’ve been told, it’s going to be amazing.

Whereas Extra Virgin prides itself as having a farm to table concept, 18°64° is going to offer more of a sea to table concept. The owners of 18°64° – Ryan Costanzo, Tom Garfield and Creagh Spillano – have been speaking with local fishermen in an effort to incorporate an abundance of fresh seafood in its menu. And just like over at Extra Virgin, they’ll have a scratch kitchen where they will make everything in house from fresh bread to salad dressings to ice creams and more.

18°64° will be open for lunch and dinner, which is great considering its location over in Mongoose Junction. The men stressed that nothing will be repeated from one restaurant to another, although both will continue to focus on being fresh, homemade and using locally sourced ingredients including herbs, greens and other fresh vegetables from their rooftop garden. (They hope to incorporate a second garden at their new location, although that remains in the planning stages.)

Creagh, Tom and Ryan stand in their rooftop garden. July 2018

Creagh, Tom and Ryan stand in Extra Virgin’s rooftop garden. -July 2018

In terms of price point, 18°64° will be less expensive when compared to Extra Virgin although the quality will not be sacrificed. 18°64° also plans to offer delicious craft cocktails and an extensive wine list focusing on lighter whites and reds, as well as sparkling wines and rosés.

The space is currently undergoing a renovation, and a new roof is being installed. The restaurant will have a brand new, large bar area complete with hightop tables, as well as a large dining room. The decor will include lots of clean whites and aquas that is traditional over at Mongoose Junction, but will also include lots of local artwork that’s bright and vibrant.

“We want to maintain some of that fresh Caribbean vibe while embracing the airiness and brightness of the space,” Creagh told me Tuesday. “It’s going to be clean, bright and vibrant which will also be representative of the food.”

inside new evb space 2 nov 20 2018

The former Ocean Grill space

Inside new EVB space Nov 20 2018

Renovations are underway.

Mongoose Junction owner and designer Glen Speer is helping the team to oversee the rebuild, so you know it’s going to be stunning. 18°64° hopes to open in late winter or early spring.

So now you may be wondering where the name came from. Well it happens to be the coordinates of St. John.

“The cool thing about it is that it’s our coordinates, it’s St. John, and that’s what they’re going for – fresh local food from local fisherman and from scratch,” Jennifer Gibbud said Tuesday. “The name itself nails our concept on the head.”

I’m not sure about all of you, but I’m pretty excited about this one. We will share more details as soon as we can. In the meantime, have a great Wednesday everyone!

Cruising Around the Island: Smoothie Shack to Maho Bay

Who wants to take a quick spin around the island today? We took this GoPro a few weeks back. It starts at the smoothie shack on Centerline Road and continues down to Maho Bay. Enjoy!

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?? We formed the exact route last November. Click here to see how much has changed over the past year.

Have a great day everyone!

Lots of Money Raised & Someone is Staying on STJ For Just $25!

The 2018 News of St. John kara team - William, Elijah, Hugo & Pat

The 2018 News of St. John kayak team – William, Elijah, Hugo & Pat

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Yesterday’s Chaotic Kayak race was a huge success! And that is a thanks to many of you, as well as the community of St. John!

Team News of St. John may not have taken home the coveted paddle, but our team did great! I’d like to give a big thanks to my team captain William Fernandez and our paddlers, Pat Connelly and Hugo Roller. I would also like to give an extra big thanks to Elijah Miner, our 8-year-old water gun shooter. Great job to all!

News of St. John placed third. Woody’s won the race this year. The Rum Hut was the 2017 winner, and we’re happy to say that the golden paddle survived Irma despite having Dreamweaver smash into the restaurant. The Rum Hut graciously (well sort of, haha) handed over the paddle to the Woody’s team yesterday afternoon.

From what we hear, the event raised more than $26,000 which will be used to bring wounded veterans to St. John for a week of rest and relaxation in 2019. News of St. John was the top fundraiser, so a big thank you for that! Our final total was $7,015 … simply amazing!

Now on to our courtesy raffle… For those of you who follow us on our Facebook page, you probably have seen where we pulled the winner live on video. So yet again, I would like to congratulate MacKenzie Snider for being the winner. MacKenzie donated $25 to Team News of St. John and because of that, she won a five-night stay at one of two suites at Island Abodes here on St. John. Congrats MacKenzie, and a big thanks to Brittany and Robert of Island Abodes for offering this great prize. Please check out their beautiful vacation rentals at www.islandabodes.com

Shelton Gore, of Team River Runner, chose the winner of our courtesy drawing Sunday afternoon on Cruz Bay beach.

Shelton Gore, of Team River Runner, chose the winner of our courtesy drawing Sunday afternoon on Cruz Bay beach.

That’s all we have for you today, folks! As always, thank you for your continued love and support of this beautiful island! I hope to see you all here soon!!

A Pirate in the Caribbean?

Maho overlook, November 16th

Maho overlook, Nov. 16, 2018

You know, it’s sort of funny the things that make me smile. When I saw my first cruise ship of the season anchor off Cruz Bay last month, I was ecstatic because it means yet another return to normalcy. And that’s very important to me and many of us living here in a post-hurricane world. Well today, I’d like to tell about something else that has made me smile this week… the mega yachts have arrived for the season!! They skipped last season, so this is a big deal. :)

I was over at Francis Bay yesterday when I noticed a very cool yacht sitting in the bay. I did a little sleuthing and learned it was the Arriva, an impressive 156-foot yacht. The cool part about the Arriva is its history. It was formerly owned by Johnny Depp who named it the Vajoliroja – a pun on the Jolly Roger using the first two letters of his children’s names – Lily Rose and Jack.

Arriva at Francis Nov 2018

Arriva is on the left. Another megayacht to the right.

This yacht was once owned by Johnny Depp and JK Rowling.

This yacht was once owned by Johnny Depp and JK Rowling.

Johnny Depp sold the yacht to JK Rowling, who in turn named it Amphitrite. She quickly had buyer’s remorse and put the yacht on the market for more than $17 million. The yacht sold in 2017, although the new fancy owner has not been named publicly.

Another impressive yacht that’s in our area today is the Rising Sun. This is extra special in my opinion because it truly shows that things are getting back to normal.

The Rising Sun is a 453-foot megayacht owned by David Geffen. It visits every year, spending Thanksgiving over in Round Bay. The vessel obviously did not visit us in 2017, but the fact that it has returned this year is a great sign. Check out this pic I took earlier today using my telescope. I snapped it just before the Rising Sun passed behind Little St. James.

The Rising Sun, Nov. 17, 2018

The Rising Sun, Nov. 17, 2018

And here’s an even better pic taken this morning by our friends over at St. John Car Rental:

Image courtesy of St. John Car Rental

Image courtesy of St. John Car Rental

And lastly, here’s a close up picture taken of the Rising Sun during its visit back in 2013:

Image courtesy of Sloop Jones

Image courtesy of Sloop Jones, 2013

The Rising Sun and Arriva are both currently hanging out together in Round Bay. So if you’re out on the East End today, be sure to take a pic. :)

I’m sure more are coming folks, and we’ll be sure to tell you all about it! Have a great day everyone!

Support an Amazing Cause & Potentially Stay on St John For Free!!

cruz bay april 5 2018

Cruz Bay

So back in September, we announced that the Chaotic Kayak race is returning after a one-year absence due to the storms. Well the race is happening this Sunday, and there is so much to tell you about it!

First, if you are on island, please come and attend this event. It’s happening this Sunday, November 18th at 10 a.m. on Cruz Bay beach, right in front of Joe’s Rum Hut. The event raises money to bring wounded veterans to St. John through the Team River Runner program, some of whom will be at Sunday’s event. As always, The Tap Room and Premier Wine & Spirits will be on hand to satisfy all of your drinking needs. (100% of the money collected from both will be donated to Team River Runner.) DJ Adonis will also be on hand to spin some tunes. There will be a raffle too!

The Chaotic Kayak race pits teams from your favorite St. John spots against one another in a zany kayak race around Cruz Bay. News of St. John will have a team for the third year, and we’re hoping to take home the golden paddle! The Beach Bar, Joe’s Rum Hut and many of your other favorites will have teams as well.

Now here is how you all can help. For every $100 we raise, we receive a 10 second head start. I am very confident in my team, but a little extra help never hurts. :) And for those of you who may need a tad more encouragement to donate to Team News of St. John, we’re going to give one lucky donor a free stay here on St. John!

Island Abodes has graciously donated a $1,120 credit to stay in any of their vacation rentals for five or more nights. That’s a free stay in their Papaya or Garden Suite during low or shoulder season, or a pretty sweet discount on any of their rentals during any season. The stay must be completed by December 31, 2019 and most be for a stay of at least five nights.

The Papaya Suite by Island Abodes

You can receive a five-night stay at the Papaya Suite by Island Abodes.

The Garden Suite by Island Abodes

You can receive a five-night stay at the Garden Suite by Island Abodes.

You can also choose to use your credit toward a 5-night or more stay at the Penthouse by Island Abodes.

You can also choose to use your credit toward a 5-night or more stay at the Penthouse by Island Abodes.

So the way this is going to work is pretty simple. You can donate as little or as much as you’d like to Team News of St. John. For those of you who donate $20 or more, we’re going to put your name in a hat as a thank you. And on November 18th, we will pull the winner live from the event. We will broadcast this live on our Facebook page and will post it immediately after here on newsofstjohn.com. You must donate by 9 p.m. EST on November 17, 2018 to be entered into our courtesy drawing.

Some rules that we have to include: Only people who donate $20 or more will be entered into the courtesy drawing. Your name will only be entered once per donation no matter the amount donated (provided it is $20 or more). The winner will be announced on November 18, 2018. We will accept donations through 9 p.m. EST on November 17, 2018. This is a courtesy drawing; it is not a raffle.

Now doesn’t all of this sound great??!!

For those of you who would like to donate to Team News of St. John for the 2018 Chaotic Kayak race, you can do so securely on the Chaotic Kayak‘s official race website. Please click here to donate.

Last year we raised $3,730, and this year, we’d like to surpass that number! Please help us while supporting such a worthy cause!

Thanks all, and I hope to see you this Sunday!!

Pickles in Paradise Reopens!

Pickles in Paradise Nov 2018 Hours

Well folks, we have more great news for you all today! Pickles in Paradise, one of our favorite restaurants on island, reopened today… such great news! And even better, Ms. Beverly is once again at the helm! More great news!

For those of you who’ve been following News of St. John, you may recall how Pickles was first listed for sale back in July 2015. But despite having a few significant price drops, the restaurant did not sell.

Enter Kim Edwards and her partner Mark Danishefsky. The duo leased the space in 2017 and successfully ran it through last summer. Sadly, they chose to move on and the restaurant was again put up for lease.

Pickles announced on their Facebook page last month that Beverly would once again take the helm. I have to say, I loved Pickles when Beverly was in charge. But I also loved it when Kim and Mark were in charge. And you know what? I’m going to love it yet again now that Beverly is back. I simply love Pickles!

Check out its new menu:

pickles 2018 menu

So as we mentioned (and forgive me for my rambling thoughts this morning – lol), Pickles reopened this morning. They will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sundays for brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pickles is closed on Mondays.