Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! We made it to the middle of the week! Here at St. John, we truly enjoy sharing the “news” with all of you. But there is more to this island that simply the news. There are such wonderful people and businesses here, and we’d like to start digging a bit deeper into our community. We plan to share more stories about individuals, and items that make this community tick. Today, we’d like to tell you about Mongoose Junction, the island’s premier shopping, dining & entertainment destination.
Chances are when you have driven past Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay, you have marveled at its beauty and design. Mongoose Junction opened in 1978 and was built by Glen Speer, a California native who moved to the island in 1969. When Glen moved to St. John, “houses were being built, there were job opportunities for all people, and the cost of living was low,” he told NOSJ back in 2018. Not only were things booming economically, “the National Park was evolving, the beauty of the island was everywhere, and it was seemingly to me, an exotic place.”
The National Park continues to evolve, and the island remains a beautiful and exotic place. Things change, but at the same time, they sort of stay the same. But back to Glen… After working different construction jobs around the island, Glen was able to save enough money to purchase the land where Mongoose sits. The rest, well, is history.
Glen was inspired by the Danish plantations when creating Mongoose Junction back in the 70s. And because of that, he chose to incorporate local stone, brick and coral in its design, as well as lush tropical plants for its landscaping.
Today Mongoose is the home to more than 30 businesses which include specialty stores, restaurants and services. Amid the beauty of its courtyards, you can explore a wide range of shops that feature some of the island’s finest jewelry, art and gift items, as well as apparel. You can unwind over a meal or dessert at one of eight eating establishments, or perhaps simply stroll through the breezy open air courtyard and enjoy the beautiful architecture.
Mongoose Junction: The Directory
- 18/64 The Restaurant
- Gecko Gazebo Bar
- North Shore Deli
- St. John Scoops
- Sun Dog Cafe
- The Tap Room
- The Art Bar & Rum Room
- Bajo el Sol Gallery
- Big Planet
- Caravan Gallery
- Friends of the Park Store
- Hot Looks
- Just BEach!
- Island Fancy
- Little Switzerland
- Made in St. John
- R&I Patton goldsmithing
- St. John Brewers Brewtique
- Sugar Birds
- The St. John Experience Gallery
- Vibe Collection
- Virgin Abis
- Arawak Expeditions
- Trevor’s Activity Center
- Barefoot Design Group
- Re/Max Island Paradise Realty
- St. John Insurance
Mongoose also serves as an entertainment destination right here in Cruz Bay. Sun Dog Cafe holds its famed Wednesday Night Jam each Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the courtyard. Sun Dog features live music each Sunday too, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday is New Orleans Night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The complex also hosts Mongoose Mondays and First Fridays. Mongoose Mondays started with the idea that most folks arrive on island on Saturdays, and many probably first venture over to Mongoose on Monday, after spending their first full vacation day beach or pool-side. This prompted the Mongoose Merchants Association to begin holding their Mongoose Mondays events which features live music, drink specials, cultural offerings and more from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each Monday.
First Friday began a number of years ago and focuses more so on the complex’s art galleries and live entertainment. In season, you will find new works by local artists, special guest performers, as well as drink specials. The next First Friday event will be held on February 7th at 6 p.m.
There is so much more happening at Mongoose Junction, but we’re going to end this right here today. Stay tuned for Part Two next month when we plan to feature the incredible food and beverage offerings at Mongoose Junction from homemade ice cream to house roasted meats, locally-brewed beer, sushi, happy hours and more. At Mongoose, there’s something for everyone, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out Mongoose’s upcoming events, and have a wonderful day everyone!
10 thoughts on “Inside St. John: Mongoose Junction, The Island’s Premier Shopping, Dining & Entertainment Destination”
Mongoose Junction is a brilliant architectural gem with a warmth and intimacy usually absent in retail environments. Mr. Speer was careful to build something consistent with the spirit of St. John which, with others, has not always been the case. When Wharf Landing arrived with, of all things, a Wendy’s hamburger franchise, I feared the worst! By the way, was Mongoose completed in 1978? I first came to the island in 1981, renting Aase Pedersen’s Chocolate Hole home, and I don’t remember being finished at the time.
I can remember my first trip to St. John in 1978. Mongoose Junction was a little group of buildings offering Hand painted visors, T shirts, food stand and I think a Jewelry shop(Patton’s?) nestled in the greenery. If I recall, at the time, there was only a little liquor /grocery store where the park is located now, and of course, Mooies. There was no other waterfront development that I can remember. I have seen so many changes over the years returning to St. John for the last 20 years. Many bring sadness to me, but the Mongoose Junction area has always seemed fitting to the area, beautifully designed. Cannot wait to be on island in two days! Thank you for the info about events at Mongoose coming up! Just love reading your News every day!!
Yes, Pattons were there in the beginning with our hand crafted jewelry and that is Linda Smith in the picture with Glen and the saw. She was a big supportive partner and helped with the permits and, actually, was the motivation for him to build her a place for her shop!
We all followed in 1978 from “downtown” at Dan Sullivan’s building: Don Schnell ceramics, Sherri Butts Canvas and a couple others.
Worked at Paradiso in the early 90’s!
We’re very fortunate to have located the Sun Dog Cafe in Mongoose Junction 23 years ago. Glen has created an amazing environment, that seems to just keep improving over the years, and we’re grateful for that.
We love Mongoose. Weather we’re on island or on SST, we have to make a trip. Always leave with something good! It is worth mentioning from past experience, if you park at Mongoose, don’t wonder down the road to say Capps or Uncle Joe’s. The rental car company will come and get your vehicle. Found out the hard way. Small inconvenience, but understand (thanks for your help Ire Pops). Enjoy the weather, it’s a balmy 33° and cloudy in PA!
Does anybody remember our WVWI radio broadcasts from Mongoose Junction way back when? Irene Patton, you probably do. I’ve lost rack of Linda Smith-Palmer. Is she on island?
As one of the original shop owners (Wicker, Wood and Shells) I am very pleased to read about Mongoose Junction’s continuing success! So many wonderful memories of beautiful St Jonn and its people! Thank you, Irene Patton, for acknowledging Linda Smith in the tree cutting photo. She was such an inspiration!
Do you know where I can purchase a hook bracelet?