New Restaurant to Open in Cruz Bay

joes diner st john

Joe’s Diner has been sold and a new mid-range bar/restaurant will take its place by the end of the year, according to its new buyer.

Clint Gaskins, managing partner of Sea Island Food Group, recently purchased Joe’s Diner, which is located underneath Café Roma in the heart of Cruz Bay. Clint is from Charleston, SC and has been traveling to St. John for the past 10 years. He plans to convert it into what he calls a “coastal casual environment with a hang-out surf bar vibe.”

“As you have heard, we have recently taken over the space and closed the doors for renovations and improvements. Although Joe’s was a fixture in the heart of Cruz Bay for quite some time, we feel that this will be a welcome change to the street,” Clint said. “We have a fairly extensive renovation/improvement planned for the space, to include making the space ADA compliant on the first floor. We will essentially be gutting the space to the concrete walls and updating everything … plumbing, electric, mechanical, facilities, kitchen, etc.”

Clint said he is still in the project’s identity phase, however he did mention how he plans to incorporate some cantina-based items into its menu like baja bowls, ceviche, salsa and tacos.

“It’s going to fill a nice gap in the St. John market for the mid-range bar/restaurant for locals and tourists alike,” Clint said. “Given the size of the space and the limitations, you can image that we will be placing a large emphasis on the bar program. The space will have a seating capacity of 50-60 through a combination of bar and table seating.”

Clint also owns Squeeze Bar and is a managing partner of a small hospitality-based group in Charleston. He hopes to open the new restaurant by Christmas.

23 thoughts on “New Restaurant to Open in Cruz Bay”

  1. Well, on one level, we have to be happy for Kim and Trent, who have had Joe’s Famous Diner on the market for a couple of years now, but from the perspective of our family, this is a tragedy. We have been addicted to the killer fried chicken from Joe’s for fifteen years now, along with their pates, burgers, ice cream, and other tasty and inexpensive offerings. Joe’s never caught on with the tourists, and attracted a diverse crowd of West Indians from up and down the island chain come afternoon. When it was first built back in the seventies by Trent’s dad, they had a water view from there. We had a lot of great times there, and will be very sad to see it go. Fingers crossed that it will stay open for a couple more months.

    All the best,


  2. Dang! I have been enjoying their beef page’s since the mid 80’s, going to miss this old friend! Thank goodness for Hercules around the corner!

  3. Cantina with a surf vibe? It is STJ for goodness sake, not Mexico.

    I am not really sure there is a gap on STJ for “mid-range” bar/restaurants. Joe’s Rum Hut, Banana Deck, High Tide, Cruz Bay Landing and others have that market covered

    I will miss Joe’s.

  4. xislandgirl said it well. While I wish the new owner well, I don’t see that idea filling any gaps on STJ. There are plenty of good choices in that category. Barefoot Cowboy has similar tastes in their cooking, too. Oh well, they comes and they goes…

  5. I wish the new owner well. We have mutual friends, who live on STJ, and after meeting with him, they are fairly excited for something new. From my understanding, the new owner has been successful in Charleston. Here’s hoping he can bring the same hospitality to the island.

    Its tough to see the things you love change, but as time goes by, they do. I had the awesome opportunity to live down in STJ twice and each time I return, it is a little bit different. I still have my favorite spots, and some are just distant memories. Either way, I am lucky to be able to visit it often.

    Have a great day.

  6. Marc- I wish them well also but I would truly hope that they do a bit more research about what STJ needs in terms of restaurants. I do not go to the VI for Tacos or Baja Bowls or surf shops. That is what Mexico is for.
    I do wish them well, but I really think they have missed the mark on what gaps there are in STJ restaurants.

  7. As a current resident of STJ this is great news! There is a definite need for this type of food on island and I for one am very excited. I wish the new owners the best of luck and will be patiently waiting for opening!

  8. Island girl always has negative stuff to say about everything. What do you know about restaurant biz? You always bring us down. Please take negative self elsewhere.

  9. Hmm, it looks like the folks who sold are happy and the folks coming in are willing to invest in the space. I am looking forward to seeing the new look. I wish them luck. Opening a restaurant is not for the faint-hearted.

  10. Always tough to see a local established hangout leave–like having a friend move away. But life goes on. The folks upstairs from this space are supposedly very excited about the new young owners. And any business will adapt to be successful. Give the new place a chance. Who knows, you may well love it.

  11. I hate new things. The Internet is for the birds. New food ruins my appetite. Mexicans make great mexican food in mexican restaurants which should not be available on STJ. New people ruin the roads. Mobile phones cause car accidents. Surfers have a horrible vocabulary.

    Ba humbug…. I hope the ceviche is good.

  12. I think that I am one of the more positive folks and I love STJ. I just don’t think that a surfer joint fits in to the vibe of STJ. Why is that negative?
    I think that the there are plenty of mid range restaurant/ bars on STJ so I don’t see where the perceived gap is. Maybe I am missing something and if I am, I hope that the new owners jump in to share their thoughts.
    I think that updating the space is great, as much as I liked Joe’s, it could use a refresh and will be a welcome addition.

    30+ years in the restaurant and event business with 10+ owning my own business. I have experience in the business, both on island and off. And since this is a public internet site, my opinion is just that, my opinion, you can read it or not, it is your choice.

  13. Wow, a couple of items off a “potential” future food menu, and people go crazy. Let me first start off with a fact. A “cantina” did not originate in Mexico, and it definitely is not limited to mexican food. A Caribbean style cantina that incorporates some Mexican-esque dishes sounds pretty good to me. Don’t know about baja bowls (never had one), but fresh ceviche (also not originally mexican) and fish tacos sound great in any island destination. Throw in a creative cocktail or two and I will come back for more. Heck, they might even serve Pates still, who knows what they have in mind… Hint, hint new owners. As for the surf bar theme, last I checked St. John wasn’t a destination for surfing, but every island surrounding it is. The Caribbean is definitely on the surfing map. Maybe people will go for it, maybe not, but I will give the place a try in February when I come down with the family. Haters need to go hug themselves.

  14. I’m cracking up at the predictable negative responses to any change on st. john. I actually live here and I am pretty excited about tacos.

  15. I always find it amusing when strangers on the internet take someone’s personal opinion as hatred of something and skip over anything positive in posts that have anything that they might disagree with.
    The Internet is not to be taken so seriously, ya’ll

  16. Iam so excited for you Clint! I know this has been a dream of yours since I’ve known you at Langdons! I know you are going to give the people of St John an amazing place to come to! I’m long over due for a trip down there, when I do, your bar will be the first place I come to! Best of luck and Congrats on this exciting time!

  17. Having followed Mr. Gaskins’ previous endeavors, I have no doubt that his upcoming venture will be a huge success.
    I can guarantee he will be reading these comments, so please continue to post your concerns and well wishes and gripes. He will use the information wisely.

    Comgrats, Clint!

  18. Sounds like a great new restaurant is about to open and xislandgirl ((who is def. an old lady, probably divorced a few times (or never loved at all), with saggy old lips)) should try it before bashing it.

    Way to tell us how successful you are with your 30+ years of experience since you clearly don’t have the slightest grasp on reality. Where was anything positive in your posts? The negativity courses through your old sandy veins and has no doubt chased away anyone you cared about in your life.

    Your hatred for Hispanics is apparent and you should be ashamed of yourself for being such a racist.

    New owners, best of luck, xislandgirl is a vicious business woman food critic internet troll!

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