Island Update:  What’s New at Wharfside Village?

Island Update: What’s New at Wharfside Village?

Good Morning, Good Morning!  Man, there is A LOT happening on St. John these days!  Between all of the holiday festivities and business happenings, my head is absolutely spinning.  In the best way possible 🙂 Currently, there are several businesses at Wharfside that are undergoing transitions, forward motion or re-opening and I wanted to take a moment today to update you all on the food, drinks and progress happening on the beach in Cruz Bay.

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First, Rum Hut is undergoing an absolutely spectacular transition right now with husband-and-wife team, Chef Nathan Bohning and Laura Valente at the helm.  The new food menu is AWESOME and features some familiar flavors from Chef Nate’s former dishes at Asolare and Sushi St. John.  The food is fresh, delicious and exactly what you want to be enjoying in that easy breezy space on the waterfront.

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Cassava Fries topped with feta, garlic aioli and avocado – The tuna tartare was also amazing!

Laura has been hard at work training new staff and developing a new cocktail program (among MANY other things!).  The new drink menu features some island classics with a twist but also some funky and bright libations, perfect for beachfront enjoyment.  Oh, and don’t forget to ask about the frozen drink of the day!  So far, I have had the privilege of playing guinea pig with the passionfruit margarita (YUM!) and Nate’s special frozen coquito recipe…Which had me coming back for a second “taste.”

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According to Laura, we will also be seeing some updates to the interior space including a “living wall” of succulents and some adjustments in service as time goes on.  Grabbing lunch at Rum Hut a few weeks ago was an absolute treat and I am so excited to see some progress in that beautiful space with two very capable service driven individuals at the helm!

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The new food menu (items are subject to change, but you get the vibe, right?)

While I was having lunch, I ran into an old St. John friend who had just closed on Wharfside Watersports!  The scuba and snorkel shop just around the corner from Rum Hut is now under new ownership and will be undergoing some exciting interior remodeling in the near future with a ton of new merchandise and beach wear.  Don’t worry, they will still be renting the Zodiaks and dinghies just as they have been since they opened but we will be seeing some new boating options on the horizon as well!  More details to come on this, but I wanted to give you all a nudge to stop by if you are visiting in the coming months to check out the updates.

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Wharfside Watersports is right around the corner from Rum Hut. It is currently closed for retail while they undergo renovations but open for rentals!

This one is HUGE for me!  The Wine Shop at Wharfside, has finally re-opened their doors with a lovely new owner and the same great selection of wines and small bites.  The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 11AM-9:30PM and Sunday from 5PM-9:30PM.

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The new owner, Victoria Theriault, is no newcomer to the wine and restaurant industry.  She has been in food and beverage service in one way or another since she was thirteen! She is an absolute sweetheart as well.  In addition to her lengthy background in service and her warm personality, she is a certified sommelier who managed liquor stores before jumping into sales with one of the largest wine suppliers in the country during the pandemic.  Small bites such as olives, charcuterie and a rotating menu of tasty treats and eclectic wines by the glass and by the bottle are currently available once again in this cozy little space at Wharfside.

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While we are on the topic of Wharfside, I don’t want to fail to mention the absolutely perfect meal we had at La Tapa on Saturday night.  Everything was absolutely spot on.  From the service to the drinks and wine to the FOOD.  A lot of the old La Tapa favorites are still on the menu (the greens with cashew encrusted goat cheese, the wahoo and the tuna were all crowd pleasers!) with rotating nightly specials and some new treats.

Oh, and the space?  Well, it felt like we were in a different, older world that still encapsulated a lot of the vibe from the old La Tapa space.  But with a beautiful view of the water and a corresponding Caribbean breeze.  The whole experience was incredible, and I highly recommend making a reservation to dine with them during your next visit!

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The new space is absolutely gorgeous! But it still encapsulates that La Tapa feel that we have all loved for decades!

Oh, and the construction that has been ongoing above Beach Bar for the past little bit should be wrapping up in the months to come with the second phase of the Wharfside Hotel scheduled to open in early 2024.  I’ll be getting some sneak peeks for you all when they are closer to opening up but how exciting is that?  Construction on Wharfside Village should be wrapped up over the next year or so, leaving us with a beautiful space to shop, dine and relax!

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The first phase of the hotel opened in the summer of 2021 and the next phase will be opening in early 2024 if not before- Details soon come!

I have to admit, and I’m sure many of you are with me on this…I had my misgivings and speculations as the remodel of Wharfside began in the years following the storms.

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The beginnings of the remodel in 2018- You have to admit, it looks absolutely stunning in comparison. And the new designs are all in accordance with the Historic Preservation Committee’s guidelines in the Cruz Bay historic district.

Change is hard for all of us, right?  Well, we were coming in on the ferry the other day and I thought carefully about the design of the building and all of the new and exciting things happening there.  And, I have to say, it looks really beautiful and tasteful from the inside out.  And, on the interior, it is so nice to see so many familiar and smiling faces doing great things.

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6 thoughts on “Island Update: What’s New at Wharfside Village?”

  1. We are coming back to our favorite place in June and staying at the WSV Hotel. It looks fabulous and we know we will love being right in the center of everything. Thanks for the update. So glad to see the area rebuilt and thriving again.

  2. So does Wharfside now have two wine shops—the new Wine Shop at Wharfside, as well as Island Cork/Kati Ligo? Or did the new wine shop take over the Island Cork space?

  3. I was really disappointed to discover that Joe’s Rum Hut no longer has those savory mahi sliders, or the tuna tacos or the beet salad since I was last there in November. I didn’t stay to read the new menu; I just hope there is still something unpretentious and tasty to enjoy down there on the beach.

  4. Just wondering if you could help me get info on Ferry cost & schedule to dine at Lovango Cay!
    And if they still have Seafood Buffet &
    Prime Rib night ?
    Not finding info maybe going about it the wrong way.

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