Authentic Caribbean Cuisine in the Heart of Cruz Bay

Norma Coal Pot
Norma Herman, owner of De’ Coal Pot

People often email us here at News of St. John asking for recommendations on good, authentic local fare. Well there’s a new restaurant in town that fits the bill and we have to say, it’s pretty delish.

De’ Coal Pot has garnered quite a name for itself since it opened less than four weeks ago. Located in the heart of Cruz Bay – next to The Lime Inn and across from Sogo’s Restaurant and the Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel – De’ Coat Pot serves up authentic Caribbean cuisine that includes shrimp creole, garlic herb conch, herb crusted steak and more. It has a large, beautifully decorated dining room and a bar that seats six.

Coal Pot Inside

De’ Coal Pot is owned by Norma and Glycerius Herman – Norma grew up in St. Thomas while Glycerius is from St. Lucia. Together they are bringing the delicious flavors of the Caribbean to Cruz Bay. Here are a few dishes they serve:

Click to enlarge

You may have even had the opportunity to taste one of the Herman’s dishes in the past. The couple owned the Windy Level up on Centerline from 2009-2011. The location wasn’t ideal, according to Norma, so they decided to relocate into town.

“I wanted a spot in town because of the traffic,” Norma said. “It took four-and-a-half months to build. We did it one day at a time.”

So what exactly is the meaning behind the coal pot?

“The coal pot is what we grew up cooking on,” Norma said. “Conch, oxtail – it took a lot gas to cook them and get them soft, and gas was too expensive, so we had to use the coal pot.”

The coal pot is simply decorative at De’ Coal Pot but serves as a reminder of the past.

De’ Coal Pot is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. It currently accepts cash only; however they will begin accepting credit cards in the upcoming weeks.

You can contact De’ Coal Pot at (340) 714-2625. You can also find them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DeCoalPot

De Coal Pot Exterior

What Exactly is Mama Juana?

Aubrey Sewer and Doug Benton show off some homemade mama juana at Saturday's event in Coral Bay.
Aubrey Sewer and Doug Benton show off some homemade mama juana at Saturday’s event in Coral Bay.

So last week we told you about the Mama Juana festival that was happening over in Coral Bay. Members of the American Legion held the event which celebrated the post’s anniversary and also served as a fun festival that featured information for veterans, crafts and food. It also featured some Mama Juana.

We here at News of St. John were unsure what Mama Juana was, so we decided to do some investigating for all of you.

It turns out that Mama Juana is a West Indian drink that is concocted by allowing wine, honey and rum to soak in a jar filled with medicinal herbs. Some people refer to this little concoction as “liquid viagra.” Yes, as soon as I learned that, I probably should have walked away. But I decided to stay, so I could report back to all of you.

Before I knew it, Doug Benton and Aubrey Sewer, two very sweet American Legion members, led me over to a table that had two tequila bottles on it. Each were filled with a dark red liquid that had an abundance of herbs floating in it – the Mama Juana. It was pretty hot out, so they suggested I grabbed an ice cube. I closed my eyes and took a sip. Woohoo, that was something!

Potent? Yes. Liquid viagra? Well, I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. 😉

Mama Juana aside, the festival was a great success. We’re hoping they plan another one soon.