Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a magnificent weekend! Things FEEL like they are slowing down a bit here on St. John, but the crowds of people with luggage in tow exiting the ferry over the weekend seem to be maybe proving my instincts wrong. But, this is typically the beginnings of our slower time of year. And, as businesses take the time they need to rest and recuperate from a busy year, forward progress and new things are also in the works for some of these well-known establishments. And, this Fall, a neighborhood boutique grocery shopping experience is coming to the Isola Shoppes in Coral Bay!
So, I was super excited about this new grocery option on St. John when I first started seeing Homemade Meals To Go posting about it on their Facebook page a month or so ago. But, when I had the opportunity to speak with David Baysden (you might know his as Driftwood Dave!) last week, I grew even more excited about this neat new concept that could potentially give us a “fresher” and more approachable perspective on groceries here on St. John.
First thing’s first, David wanted to make sure that I was transparent in saying that is not just HIS operation or concept. This is a project “By Coral Bay for Coral Bay.” It is a community effort with many folks in Coral Bay collaborating on this awesome project!
Second, this will not just be a grocery store. This 2000 square foot space will house fresh cuts of meat and seafood, vacuum sealed to optimize freshness. Because there is nothing worse than getting home with your tuna and opening it up to realize it is…Well, not the most appetizing 🙂 The produce department will also revolutionize the way we shop here on St. John. Instead of receiving a produce order once a week. The new Coral Bay Fresh Market will be receiving an order of fresh fruits and veggies EVERY DAY. With fresh seafood being flown in twice a week from Puerto Rico. AND, David expects their competitive pricing to be in line with Starfish Market or Moe’s Fresh Market. So, fresher stuff for your money! But wait. There’s more.
Homemade Meals To Go will be merging with this space that is attached to their current kitchen to offer a unique carry-out OR dine in experience! This space has a small swimming pool in the adjacent area that will convert into an oasis like dining space for folks to sit and enjoy their breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply a premium bottle of wine or cup of coffee.
Yes, I DID say wine! In addition to offering extremely fresh meats, seafoods and produce, the Coral Bay Fresh Market will have a delightful selection of premium wines from Italy, Chile, California and more! So, you can grab your delicious meal and a bottle of wine and enjoy it poolside. Sorry folks…No swimming. It’s just for ambiance 🙂 However, they will also offer a selection of Italian dry goods and specialty meats and cheeses. So, if you’re not in the mood for dinner, you could build your own charcuterie board and enjoy it with a nice bottle of Chianti- YUM!
For breakfast, they will be offering coffee, muffins, sandwiches and wraps. For lunch, an assortment of fresh baked baguettes, corn bread muffins and biscuits, sandwich fixings and sides to take to the beach or enjoy on site. For dinner, Homemade Meals To Go offers a rotating selection of delightful dinners that you can order in advance and decide on site whether or not you’ll take it home, or enjoy a bit of poolside dining.
Oh, and in the spirit of keeping it green, Homemade Meals to Go and Coral Bay Fresh Market will be 90% plastic free with compostable to go containers.
A few additional notable points from my chat with David….
- This is a small and premium grocery shopping experience. Meaning, plan to stop by several times throughout your visit for a small selection of items to take with you. If you are interested in stocking up for the week, they will also be launching a click and pick up grocery service which will make it possible to order online and pick up larger grocery orders. David urges everyone to stop by and see the quality of the items and get the overall experience and then order online if you want a bigger order in future.
- They will be storing a small selection of produce items in the air conditioned shopping area of the store in hand constructed wooden bins. The rest will be in a temperature controlled walk in with misters to ensure top quality product. There will be one person on site who is responsible for constantly rotating and restocking the produce in order to optimize the freshness!
The Coral Bay Fresh Market and all of the above services will open for business on October 1 at Isola Shoppes (between Salty Mongoose and Wok on the Beach).
The grocery will be open from 7AM-8PM daily with the restaurant remaining open until maybe 9PM each evening. I am very excited to experience the Coral Bay Fresh Market and on site elegant dining experience for the first time this fall. Congratulations to David and the community of Coral Bay on the upcoming opening of this game changing premium shopping experience!