Cheap eats in St. John

Ok, we’re going in a slightly different direction this newsletter. After the cost of your villa, then overpriced airline tickets likely the next big cost is food. Especially if there are four of you and you just happen to be blessed with two teenage “eating machines.” You can’t always eat Ronny’s Pizza for seven nights but here is a great alternative.  
I gotta say I was amazed at the quality. Oh, don’t get me wrong it’s not like sitting at a waterfront café on the island of Mykonos with an alcoholic beverage in your hand downing a plate of octopus while everyone around you is speaking Greek. But it’s damn close. I highly recommend the “Little Olive.” 
This is no Mexican cart where you have to careful of the vegetables you eat or you’ll wind up with Montezuma’s Revenge. In fact, most of the produce used is grown right on St. John by Josephine’s little organic veggie farm in Coral Bay. This little cart is super clean.


I’ve tried both the gyro as well as Spanakopita which is stuffed with spinach, onions, cheese and herbs all encased in a flaky pie crust dough. Then I topped it off which baklava which was very rich and gooey. For under $20 bucks it was a great value and a whole lot less expensive than many St. John restaurant alternatives.
Little Olive is right in town at the Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot. Kinda diagonally across the street from the fire house, close to the traffic circle. The cart is usually open Monday – Saturday from around 11:00 am til 5ish or so. 


I posted this information about a year ago but for all you new subscribers I think it’s worth repeating. For years the single most frequent asked question to me has been, "Where should I rent a car?”
Car Rental on St. John
Assuming you are a party of four and of course you over pack and have four bags. You've decided at all costs you will rent a car on St. John. Therefore, when you retrieve your bags at the airport and walk out a nice man will direct you to a van holding ten or twelve other passengers. This trip to Red Hook may be as short as thirty minutes or as long as an hour considering traffic and how many stops the van makes to drop off riders at hotels.  
Van Cost 4 People                     $44.00
Four Bags $2.00 Each               $  8.00
Tip (I'm Cheap)                          $  2.00
Total to Red Hook                      $54.00
Once you get inside the ferry terminal turn left and buy one way ferry tickets - cost for round trip is the same and this way you won't lose the return while you’re on holiday. Opps! Don't forget to get ticket for each of the four bags. Cause it gives the little guy by the ferry taking tickets great please to make you return to the ticket counter for the bag tickets!
Ferry Ticket Cost 4 People      $30.00
Baggage $4.00/bag                 $16.00
Total to Cruz Bay                     $46.00
Now you've arrived! Don't forget the tip to the boat handlers unloading your bags - another $5.00. So the total cost of getting from the airport to Cruz Bay dock is ($54.00+$46.00+$5.00) =$105.00 and this is one way! Total roundtrip about $210.00.  
If you decide to do this, and you may not have any alternative, if you arrive late or leave early then rent on St. John. I researched a number of St. John car rental agencies. Most are located within a five minute walk from the ferry dock and all prices are "about" the same. I've heard good and bad comments practically about everyone. A lot like airlines you gotta use one so the choice is pretty much up to you.  
Personally, I recommend Penn’s as they have a newer fleet of vehicles and have been on the island for many years. Once you've made a reservation the next step is calling them when you board the ferry to Cruz Bay. By the way, if you're really late they will meet you just call them. They are located about five minutes from the ferry. Leave your bags with someone at the dock and walk over to your car.  
Penn’s is located opposite the lumber yard in a semi-finished two-story building. Also, in the evening if they have space you can park free in their lot, this is a big cost savings.  Honestly, I use to recommend Mr. Piper’s but after a couple of guests told me they got “snarky” with them I’ve stopped.
Contact: Penn’s at (340) 776-6530
Oh, by the way, you have now handled your bags a total of three times since you touched down at the St. Thomas airport.  
Car Rental on St. Thomas 
If you all arrival before 3:00 pm on your incoming flight and depart back to the real world after 11:00 am. I strongly recommend renting on St. Thomas. There are all the major agencies and the price per week is about $725.00. Just remember don't rent from Hertz as they will not allow cars off the island. 
My recommendation for St. Thomas is Amalie and here's why.  When you get off the plane everyone will be rushing to the car rental counters and you'll have to stand in line upwards of thirty minutes or more.  Not so with Amalie. She or one of her agents will meet you right in front, with your car and will be holding an Amalie sign. You will get in the car with the driver and go to Emerald Resort which is about two minutes outside the airport.  You sign the agreement and leave the driver there. Swing back to the airport and by this time the rest of your party has procured all the luggage. Just pull up in front at the curb, load up, climb in and take the thirty-minute ride to the barge dock which is right next to the passenger ferry dock. It's easy to find, look for the "Red Hook" signs once you’re out of the airport. Just past the Red Hook passenger ferry is the car barge entrance. 
Now, this is where it gets interesting. Pay the nice lady $3.00 port fee then another nice lady will line you up for loading on the barge. Once you back onto the barge - yep, I did say "back" onto the barge (Pretty interesting your first time). You will pay $30.00 one-way, nope no credit cards, no checks, CASH ONLY! Get a one-way ticket as this allows you the freedom upon return to use any barge in service. Total roundtrip cost will be $63.00. 
Information on Amalie Car Rental: (340) 774-0688 Web  She has a fleet of new vehicles and upon the return just call her and she will meet you again right in front of your airline. By the way, think she is about $100.00 less expensive than the big agencies, about the same price as St. John companies and is receiving great reviews on the web.
You handled your baggage just once from the airport to your our villa.
Total costs
St. John Rental             $210.00
St. Thomas Rental       $   63.00
Total Savings               $147.00
That, my friend, is a whole lotta Pain Killers!
Experience in renting on St. Thomas and taking the car to St. John by barge – PRICELESS!


I’ve noticed over this year that rentals are happening earlier and earlier. It used to be several years ago you could wait until a couple of months of arrival to make reservations. Not the case any longer. In fact, of the 104 weeks available at both Sopra Mare and Bordo Mare for 2017 I only have about 11 weeks left to rent. I believe this is a function of two possibilities – one the economy is doing well and secondly all the HGTV specials focusing on St. John.
This year I introduced “Value Season” pricing which began mid-August and continues thru October 6th. The discount I offer for Sat-Sat stays are upward of 25%. Right now I still have some weeks available at both villas. Let me know if interested.
I’m always looking for referrals, again if you’ve stayed and refer a future first time guest to me I’ll give you a great price just like I recently did for someone from Maine. By the way, a big thank you “GN” for the referral.

I’ll leave you with this sunset from Bordo Mare ocean deck taken yesterday evening.


Hope you liked the information provided and just maybe it’ll add a little something to your St. John vacation experience.
Have a great remaining summer – Labor Day is just around the corner. I’ll “Leave The Lite On” for you at your island home – Bordo Mare and Sopra Mare.
Mike Mullen – But everyone just calls me “Mulley”
Past newsletters and other information can be found on my website: or just give me a call (972) 679-9937