One of Coral Bay's best known restaurant/bars could have new management soon. Jeff Hayes, says he's done.
Island Blues is on the market. Asking price for the waterfront business which seats 60 at tables and 30 around an often-hopping bar: $150,000. And if you know anything about St. John, available commercial waterfront property is rare.
"As most people don't know I have a full time day job as a software engineer that has been consuming most of my time this past year," he said. "I am not ready to give it up so I am letting the restaurant go. It's been a good run and I wish the new owners great success."
"We are closed for the month of October and expect to transition to a new owner during this downtime," Hayes said. "Expecting to be reopened with new ownership by Thanksgiving."
Hayes reminds that there continues to be talk about a 116-slip marina being developed on the bay, near his spot. Could be a big boost to the business – if it ever gets built. (Soon come, right?)
Island Blues has been the live music capital of Coral Bay for some time. hayes and his staff had a jam-packed calendar of entertainment. And during this year's St. John Blues Festival, the bar hosted some of the world's best talent. (Watch the video.)
Turnover is a fact of life in the restaurant business on the island. While new places like the Iguana Grill open in Cruz Bay, and there's a new spot aborning in the Lumberyard, veterans like Cafe Roma change hands or are offered for sale, like the Lime Inn.
One former St. Johnian understands why Island Blues needs a new owner. "Opening a restaurant on STJ is nearly the same as digging a hole and throwing money into it and then setting it on Fire,." said Xislandgirl on the Virgin Islands On-Line travel forum. "Owning a restaurant is a massive commitment and for the first few years, the restaurant owns you. Add in power outages, inability to get certain 'fresh' foods, sometimes transient staff, hurricanes, and low season. You need deep pockets, unlimited energy, and thick skin."