Four fine restaurants in trouble?

4restaurantsUpdate:  There is now a report that one of the four eateries, Chloe and Bernard's, has closed.  The upscale restaurant at the Westin has had several operators during its life.

The hotel's Concierge desk confirmed, saying Chloe's is closed "this month, for the slow season."

It's reasonable to expect the second-floor space in the main Westin building will be in operation as another restaurant by winter season.  They won't allow the space to go empty.

Anthony Finta says he’s heard that the company which owns four the island’s best restaurants “may be going under.”  Finta passed along what he’s heard on Virgin Islands On-Line, the Web site he’s run for what seems like at least 10 years.  He is a true Internet pioneer.

In his posting early Friday, Finta said, “(I) am sort of loathe to post rumors and such – but this is pretty juicy.

"Hearing various rumblings that the restaurant group that includes Paradiso, Asolare, Chloe & Bernard’s and the Balcony may be going under. With the Stone Terrace already closed, this would be a huge event to St. John fine dining.”

Certainly we know the economy has been awful.  Even so, there has been very little turnover activity – or closings – among island restaurants.

Oddly, despite the popularity of these restaurants, only two comments were made on the report in the first 24 hours.   JohnLMBZ06 said, tongue in cheek, “That would not be good. Except for my wallet since my wife is so insistent that we visit those places every time we go."

"Devastating," was the word Mrs. Inquiring Iguana used.

The Inquiring Iguana sent an e-mail to the restaurants’ Web site (www.stjohn-restaurants.cxom), asking for a response, As of Saturday evening., none had been received.

La Plancha’s Saturday Night Food Fever

LaplanchaThe best-received new restaurant of the year isn’t resting on its good reviews.

La Plancha del Mar, stuck back in a hallway at the Marketplace shopping center continues to give diners a reason to find them.  Great drinks, tasty entrees and reasonable prices have been the draws for the first year.

Now, La Plancha is adding ‘surf or turf’ options.  Every Saturday night, starting at 5 p.m., the restaurant is offering Prime Rib and a raw bar, including oysters, steamed mussels from Prince Edward island, and shrimp cocktail. 

This is a big step for these guys, to do this on little St. John with its legendary supply chain challenges.  But the owners, Jason Howard, Jonathan Fritz, and Mike Prout have shown they know what they’re doing.

Can St. Johnians dance?

Rumba New York’s Dancing Classrooms has come to St. John, courtesy of Pond Bay.

With a slogan of “Teaching Children to Take a Bow,” Pierre Dulaine kicked off a 10-week dance course with a demonstration at the bandstand in Cruz Bay, according to the St. John Source.  About 40 people were on the stage while about 100 more looked on, added the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Pond Bay’s Robert Emmett said offering this sort of program to the community is part of his desire that Pond Bay be a positive and contributing resource for the island.  This is one such community project, he said. The dance class will be offered to fifth graders on St. John.

The founder of Dancing Classrooms, Dulaine told the Daily News, "As well as learning the steps, they will really learning to be ladies and gentlemen. Dancing is all about making friends."

Sprauve Library is cool

0211_library_1 That’s the first thing people remark about the year-long renovation of the Elaine I. Sprauve Library

It’s cool … because it’s air conditioned.

It’s also wired. WiFi Internet access is available in the two-story Enighed building which is more than 200 years old.  It was brought back to life as a library, from decay in the late 70s. 

During the recent $700,000 renovation, walls were plastered, the roof was replaced, the building was repainted and, as we mentioned, air conditioning was installed.  The better to protect the library’s holdings and to encourage people to spend more time there. A new generator was also installed. 

The Library also has a museum including a collection of photographs, documents, and historic artifacts about St. John.