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Healthy, Eco-friendly, and Delicious Food? See Azul Cafe.

Healthy, Eco-friendly, and Delicious Food? See Azul Cafe.

Azul Cafe St. Thomas

The ever-changing face of the Havensight area is the dynamic that keeps it a hopping place for visitors and a new experience for locals. Gone is the famous Shipwreck bar and restaurant and the huge liquor store there to serve the ship passengers. Now one can go bowling while drinking and having a bite or settle into a charming spot called Azul Café. It would be easy to miss this place. It sits a bit above street level on the eastern end of the old Al Cohen’s Plaza.

Azul Cafe St. Thomas

Failing to check it out would be a culinary error. This unassuming little place in what is now called simply “The Plaza at Havensight” seats outdoor diners at wooden picnic tables (painted blue, of course) or at the cozy and well-stocked bar. The year-old enterprise is the brainchild of Dale Schmidt, a serial entrepreneur with restaurants in Florida and here in the Virgin Islands, and Chef and General Manager Karrl Foster, a well-known classically trained chef with deep restaurant experience. Karrl has had several other successful restaurants on island, and his most recent experience was as the Executive Chef and General Manager of the, so very missed, Blue Orchid restaurant. During his time there, Karrl was inducted as a Conseiller Culinaire Provincial of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Caribbean region, which is world’s oldest international gastronomic society. The Blue Orchid was located on The St. Peter Greathouse and Botanical Gardens property, and was one of the few spaces on island to hold events. Sadly, the businesses were decimated in Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and as they work on the rebuild, they still offer catering through Azul, and event services for small to large scale events.

Azul Cafe Power Bowl

The slogan at Azul reads “Small Batch. From Scratch” and the stated goal is to serve freshly made dishes that are healthy and thrill the palate. Foster said, “We keep listening to customers. Their comments direct the menu, which changes quarterly. Our daily specials take advantage of local availability, and our area farmers grow fresh vegetables in beds specifically assigned to Azul Café.” Azul opts to support local whenever possible and in fact, they just began to carry beer on tap from a local brewery on St. Croix, Leatherback Brewery just last month. Foster refers to this part of the business as “menu engineering” based on the market and current trends.

You will also find a familiar face, Tom Palisi, behind the bar who spent 20 years as the owner of Epernay, the well known upscale eatery in Frenchtown. Most recently, Tom was working at The Blue Orchid with Karrl crafting exciting cocktails, conversation, and running the popular upscale bar as Bar Manager. After the storms, Tom worked with Karrl on opening Azul and has been a crucial part of the operation– in fact, there were rumors that the restaurant was almost named “Tom’s Bar”.

Azul Cafe to-go
Azul Cafe To-go in Eco-friendly Container
The Impossible Burger at Azul Cafe
The Impossible Burger with Leatherback Brewery Draft Beer

The one-page menu offers about 20 interesting dishes of paninis, gourmet burgers (try the Impossible Burger which is made of all vegetables, that actually doesn’t taste like it is), bowls, sandwiches side salads, and soups, prepared with organic oils, grass-fed butter and, living up to the slogan, “Small Batch. From Scratch.” That means that the salmon patty is wild-caught fish prepared when ordered. The grass-fed New Zealand rib eye is served with a sharp cheddar, horseradish mayo, and herbed dipping sauce. They blend fresh juices daily and offer salads with local micro-greens, and they never add white sugar to anything. They offer to-go orders for those that are more into the take and go and, of course, serve them up in eco-friendly containers. Azul will be expanding this delicious menu, and not to mention, the restaurant space, rather soon. The enlarged space will give diners the option to eat inside with AC which will be especially helpful for the coming summer months. The deck portion will remain for those that prefer the breeze watching the cruise ships leave port (did we mention they have a wonderful happy hour every Friday?).

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Veggie Burger and one of Tom’s famous cocktails

So, one of the cool things about this place is its super casual feel as it delivers dishes one might expect in a far more formal atmosphere…. Like a dinner at your friend’s backyard, as long as your friend is a forward-thinking, world-class chef.

Interested in having Azul Cater your next event? For some of the best catering on St. Thomas:

Visit Azul’s business listing page here to place your to-go orders and more!

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Gerard Sperry

Gerard became a St. Thomas resident 13 years ago, after a decade of escaping Boston winters on chartered sailboats in the Virgin Islands. Back in the frozen north he published travel magazines, books and consulted on all types of media. “It was love at first sight”, says Gerard. “I came for the sailing but stayed for the weather, the culture and the genuine warmth of the people.” Once settled in, he augmented his media consultation with a professional photography business and various philanthropical efforts in the community including National Public Radio and the St. Thomas Humane Society. He manages St. Thomas Food Tours, the original cultural food tour on the island where he shares his love and knowledge of “the rock” with visitors who want to leave with more than a suntan.


Author: Gerard Sperry

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