Good Morning all! Today I want to share with you an amazing spot in “the country” where you can relax and enjoy the breeze…AND some amazing local cuisine!
Heading East opened in November of 2020 and I’m truly sorry to say that this was my first visit! The space is just awesome…Wide open and fully covered with well spaced out picnic tables, music playing from just outside the small kitchen and bar area and green space surrounding the dining area.
When I arrived to check it out, there were some regulars enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon with cold beers and some elders sitting at one of the tables playing dominos. It was absolutely lovely and I wanted to stay for hours.
St. Johnian co-owner, Bobby Otto sat down with me for a bit to talk about the spot and their menu offerings. He went from hesitant to relaxed rather quickly and graciously shared a bit about the menu and the space with me.
When we sat, Bobby and I quickly realized that we had conversed prior to this sit down. I met him just as he was taking over the lease on the beautiful countryside property owned by the Moses family a few years ago. Chester and I were throwing a party there at the time and Bobby, as an attendee, told me he had big dreams for the place. I’m happy to say that he is well on his way there with co-owner John Griffith!
Heading East offers an ever rotating menu with a few staples that are available daily. Lobster, fry fish,steam fish and stewed chicken (my choice for lunch) are static on the menu and each comes with two heaping portions of sides for a very fair price.
Here, you won’t find burgers or hot dogs or any type of standardized cuisine. You also won’t get a heavy meal at lunch time…Bobby says that no one wants the heavy things weighing them down in the middle of their day 🙂
The sides to pick from that day were white rice, season rice, steam vegetables, provision, green salad, pasta salad, potato salad, lentils and cole slaw. Bobby assured me they also have great mac and cheese on occasion. I was a bit bummed that I wasn’t able to get into some of that…But I’ll be back to check in for it!
On Sunday, they were also offering seafood pasta, salt fish, hardnose in butter sauce (jack fish) and shrimp. Bobby told me that very frequently, he makes conch soup or chicken soup as a special. A light went off in my head…Bobby’s chicken soup!
In the early days of the pandemic, I was assisting the St. John Community Foundation with coordinating food delivery for the seniors. The staff RAVED about “Bobby’s Chicken Soup.” It was their favorite and a favorite of the recipients of these deliveries. I was intrigued at the time and now putting the pieces together. So, in a nut shell, if there is soup, get that. Ha!
He assured me that the majority of what comes out of the kitchen is from the staff at Heading East.
“I try to stay out of the cook’s way,” he laughed and shook his head.
Heading East is located just a few moments outside of Cruz Bay on Centerline Road just past the entrance to Susannaberg. Once you pass Paradise Lumber, it’s about one eighth of a mile up and to the left. The Drive-In movie theater shares the property that it partitioned by a fence. If you are headed up to the drive-in, definitely swing by Heading East before you get settled to grab a picnic dinner and some drinks for the feature film of the evening.
This area is developing into a great spot with Shambles, The Windmill Bar, Local Flavors (another new local spot that I’ll be hitting up next week!), the Drive-In Movie Theater and Smitty’s Island Breeze all within a stones throw of each other. It’s a really cool little corner of St. John that I head to in order to be out, but out of town at the same time!
Heading East is open seven days a week at 7AM until late evening serving lunch, dinner and drinks all day.
4 thoughts on “Local Livin’- Heading East for Great Local Flavor!”
Bobby is really good people and a very hard worker. Will stop for a visit in June. Thank you for sharing!
I also visited heading east on my first time of ever visiting the islands!! It was like no place I’ve ever been before. A vibe that feels instantly feels like home. The guava berry rum head the head on the nail. Bobby, and his daughter are wonderful. Chester can light up a whole room. All of the workers, are special in their own way.
Went here for dinner last night. Great place and great food. Chicken was great and the conch was very tasty.
For those looking to experience something close to a true local flavor and vibe, I’d strong recommend. You won’t be disappointed.
In early May, I was referred to this hidden gem. It was the best recommendation ever. Food was great, the musical vibes was nice, and the customer service was superb!