Meet Francisco and Socorro Renteria and their son Christian, who moved to St. John from Sacramento just a few weeks ago to manage a newly opened health food store at The Marketplace for its owners.
But they have much bigger plans than just selling gluten-free flour and organic cereal.
Nature’s Way occupies what was most recently Gastrogrub, and before that Black Sand Bistro and the original La Plancha del Mar, so there is already a kitchen. They are gearing up to start cooking Vegan meals-to-go.
“We’re working on the menu now, but expect things like black bean burgers, veggie burgers we make from scratch, spring rolls, pastas and sandwiches,” says Francisco, who has 23 years of experience in the restaurant business.
“And things with a Caribbean twist, like Jerk Tofu with Plantain Aioli.”
They also plan to add smoothies, fresh-squeezed wheat grass and eventually cooking classes.
Kitchen hours will be Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
And for fans of the original La Plancha, you’ll be glad to know the light-up sand dollar bar top is still there.
VI EcoTours, which has a watersports concession with Caneel Bay, has renovated a dilapidated old building at Honeymoon Beach and is now renting stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, snorkel gear, floaties and even beach chairs. And there are lockers for your valuables.
It is something the National Park had wanted to do at Honeymoon for some time.
“Caneel asked us to start offering paddle boards, but the beach at Caneel we’re using now can get crowded, so Caneel suggested Honeymoon,” says VI EcoTours owner Sybille Sorrentino. “I approached [Park Superintendent] Mark Hardgrove about using the building and he said the Park wanted services on Honeymoon, and it fully supported our idea.”
They’ve put bathrooms back in to the building. They sell beach stuff like towels, sunscreen, water and soda, shirts and flip flops. And you can buy or just rent an underwater camera.
And there are some hammocks and picnic tables too.
All the gear rents for $20 for the first hour and $10 for each additional hour, and it’s all interchangeable: take a paddle board for an hour, and then trade it for a kayak, etc. And there’s a special right now. For $49, you can have access to whatever you want all day long.
“We are very safety oriented, but I want people to know we are also environmentally sensitive and everything has been done as low impact as possible,” Sybille says. “And we’re making sure the beach maintains its pristine look and feel.”
One more bonus? If you’ve feeling extravagant, you can order food from the Caneel Bar & Grill, and a golf cart will deliver it to you at the beach.
Say hello to St. John superstar Chef Ted Robinson and Caribbean cuisine expert Abdue Hill, two guys who go good together.
Both are now preparing hot meals to go at St. John Market.
“I’ve got 25 years in the business. I’ve had my own restaurant, I’ve worked at the Four Seasons and now I am here,” says Abdue, who has family on St. John and moved here three months ago from Nevis. “My specialty is Caribbean cooking.” Abdue is focusing his attention on lunch.
Ted, former Chef/owner at Tage, who devotes much of his time to his popular Ted’s Supper Club, is concentrating on dinner.
“We’re experimenting with some things in low season now. Certainly some of my signature dishes, as well as rotisserie chicken and deli sandwiches, but the goal is to keep it all affordable.”
Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Hot meals go for $10 to $12, many with your choice of sides.
(Our quick sample: Ted’s lasagna was outstanding. Abdue served us some mean barbecue chicken.)