Good Morning, Good Morning! Man, oh man did I get to experience some excitement this week! I was cordially invited to do a quick walk through of both La Tapa Plage AND The Parrot Club on Tuesday and I’m very happy to report that you ALL have a lot to be excited about when these two time honored St. John establishments re-open their doors in mid-late March!
Ok, first, I want to let you know that I was unable to take any photos during my tours because there is still light construction going on at La Tapa and The Parrot Club is currently installing their machines. So, security things 🙂 BUT, I am happy to describe some of the amazingness that I was able to take in. And give you some updates on the openings! (Any indoor pictures provided in the article are pulled from each of the establishments Facebook Pages as approved by the management.)
First up, La Tapa Plage…Alex Ewald (owner, founder and Executive Chef of La Tapa) was ready with a warm hug when I arrived and was simply bubbling with excitement about this new space, the upcoming opening and the eventual evolution of her new location at Wharfside on the waterfront. The goal is to be open by mid-late March for dinner service with brunch and lunch service to follow. They will also be offering Pinxtos y Vinos (small plates and wines) upon opening from 3PM-5PM with dinner service to follow from 5:30PM-10PM.
Oh, and speaking of her team…She was very excited to say that some new rock stars and old school superstar La Tapa friends will be supporting her as she moves forward with this dream of a restaurant. Executive Chef, Kyle McKnight, will be returning to St. John after a twenty year stint in the states, expanding his culinary horizons and developing an incredible set of skills in the kitchen. He worked at the Westin many moons ago and, in his absence from the island, he has become a two time James Beard award winning chef. Alex is beyond excited to have Kyle in her kitchen and is over the moon happy to be welcoming some of her original La Tapa staff back to the new location, including Elaine del Sol who assisted her in opening La Tapa 25 years ago. Many of you who have been dining with Alex and her team for decades will enjoy some familiar, and deeply missed, faces and personalities!
In comparison to the old Waterfront Bistro, which used to occupy this beautiful space, the bar is now inside at a built out space that used to house the kitchen. The bar is GORGEOUS and you might recognize it. The beautiful bar top is taken from the original location with some expansions to accommodate more guests. Additionally, the old wooden benches and gorgeous heavy tables from the original La Tapa will line the dining room, adding a stunning contracts to the otherwise light and airy space and stunning Portugeuse terra cotta floors.
And, the new kitchen is brand freaking new and absolutely HUGE. I cannot wait to see what kind of culinary magic Alex and her team have planned for this incredible space.
After my brief meeting with Alex, I headed next door to The Parrot Club. And, I actually teared up a little when I walked inside. This is it…One of the last of Irma’s casualties is being resurrected. I remember the way I felt the first time I heard the Kekoa cannon in 2018, the first time I sat back at the Beach Bar in 2020, the first time I set foot into ZoZo’s back at Caneel Bay in 2021, the first time I set my sights on a revitalized Cinnamon Bay Campground just last month…All of these things were back and better than ever. And, I’m happy to say that The Parrot Club is going to be no exclusion to that theme.
The décor of the new expanded space absolutely blew me away. A beautiful marble bar top littered with video roulette machines caught my eye first with a stunning aqua back bar glimmering behind it. The tile work throughout the whole venue was stunning but the flooring in what will be the main dining area was reminiscent of a, old Spanish castle. Dark greens and blues with light contrasts throughout, paired with thoughtful and modern light fixtures, transport you to fancier space than the beach outside. But, the green and blue hues and long time locals serving you craft cocktails from behind the bar will keep your mind on island time.
General Manager, Derek Athanase, greeted me after my few moments of shock and oohing and aw’ing about the space. He told me they are very close with just the programming of the games, light housework and the arrival of liquor orders on the horizon before the release an official opening date. But, we can expect to be gaming and drinking in the beautiful air conditioned space once again by the end of March. They have added 10-15 machines to their overall number but EVERY gaming device in the whole place is BRAND new.
Both of these establishments will honor their previous quality of service and fun atmospheres upon their re-openings next month. And, I’m very excited to share with you the developments over the next month as they keep me in the loop! Thank you so much for welcoming me into your spaces, Alex and Derek. I’m looking very forward to the future of these two time-honored traditions on the St. John circuit.
Oh, and BOTH of these places are hiring for all positions! For information about employment opportunities at La Tapa Plage, please email Alex Ewald. For bar tending opportunities at The Parrot Club, email Derek Athanase. Both establishments ask for applicants with a fun loving yet hard working spirit and a wealth of experience of living on St. John.