Fish Trap: East meets West, West Indian, that is

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After almost 20 years, the Fish Trap restaurant is making some big changes.  "We needed a little kick in the pants, and we gave it to ourselves," said Lonnie Willis, the owner,

In an interview with NewsofStJohn.com, Willis said the expanded menu at the landmark downtown-Cruz Bay restaurant includes more West Indian soups, lobster and shellfish entrees, chicken and meat dishes as well as a taste of Thai. 

The Asian influence has been introduced by Christopher Gagnon, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef whose background includes experience at both Caneel Bay and Little Dix.  He has been the Fish Trap’s general manager for the past four years.  Before settling on St. John, Gagnon opened a restaurant in at the historic Montauk Manor resort in New York.  His experience running his own show there, and at other places, is energizing him to create a new dining option on St. John.

Gagnon’s first priority was the tiny kitchen. Anybody who’d ever eaten at the Fish Trap had to marvel at its productivity.  The restaurant closed for two months while a new one was built.  A higher ceiling will make it cooler. New grills were added along with a Wok station for the Thai dishes. 

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Listen to a conversation with Lonnie Willis of the Fish Trap restaurant.

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"I think we got dull there for a while," Willis said.  "You need to
keep up your passion.  Changing things does that."  She said two key
cooks, who have been with the Fish Trap as long as 10 years, remain on
staff.

But change also costs, especially on St. John where everything has to be brought in my boat and electricity costs have more than doubled.  "Food is so much more expensive on island, even more than last year," Willis explained.  "Christopher and I have worked long and hard trying to keep the prices affordable.  And while we have added some higher priced items,  there are still lots of entres and dinners priced at $12-$15."

Willis said she hopes the changes will also prompt  a greater response from people who haven’t been to the Fish Trap in a while to give it a try.  After they do, Willis said, "They’ll say, I hadn’t been there in a while and now I see how fantastic it is."

The Fish Trap is open Tuesday-Sunday.  Early bird specials are offered
from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, with the full menu available from 4:30pm to
9:30pm.  The phone number is 340-693-9994.  The Web site is http://www.thefishtrap.com.

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