Extra Virgin Bistro was named both for their location, in the heart of the Virgin Islands, and after extra virgin olive oil, a staple for Mediterranean cuisine which is the main influence for their cuisine. The dishes of Extra Virgin are inspirations from Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Portugal and include as much fresh and local produce as possible.
Extra Virgin Bistro opened its doors on September 30th, 2015 under the leadership of co-owners Head Chef Thomas Garfield and General Manager Ryan Costanzo. Tommy and Ryan have a combined 30+ years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Tommy began working in kitchens around the Boston Area as a teenager and from there, his love of the culinary arts flourished. He spent months staging in kitchens throughout Italy where his love of handmade pastas and the Italian influence of his cuisine grew.
Head chef at several different restaurants in New England, Tommy eventually found the opportunity to relocate and run the kitchen at an incredible fine dining restaurant on St. John where he met and worked closely with Ryan.
Ryan, a local St. Johnian, born and raised in Coral Bay, began his career as a busboy at 15 years old and worked his way up the restaurant ladder. He has filled every role in the front of the house throughout his many years in the industry here and throughout New England, including summers in Newport and Nantucket. Having worked closely with Tommy for years, when the opportunity arrived to open Extra Virgin, they became the perfect team.
“We bring the fresh, home-cooked Mediterranean style right to you – from our selection of specialty olive oils that accent most of our appetizers; house-made pastas; house-cured and smoked meats, down to the bacon on our arugula salad; house-made Portuguese sweet bread, which we offer at the start of every meal; and finally, to our rooftop garden where we grow fresh produce and all our herbs.”
Extra Virgin Bistro is very proud to be a part of is the Gifft Hill School EARTH program. The Education and Resiliency Through Horticulture (EARTH) program’s mission is to integrate gardening education into the Gifft Hill School’s curriculum and the school’s burgeoning farm to school lunch program. EARTH is a partnership effort between GHS and Iowa State University. Our kitchen volunteers to help the students learn about different produce and harvesting. During season, you will often find items harvested from the EARTH program on our menu.
Both Tommy and Ryan are very passionate about the Extra Virgin rooftop garden. You will often find them building a new section, planting new vegetables or harvesting. This inspired an interest in the cultivation of local, sustainable farming, including the rearing of quails and chickens to provide the restaurant with fresh local eggs. Ryan has spent many of his days off this year building both chicken and quail coops and finally has a little bird family that he cares for on his time off. In the last couple months, we have had quail eggs on our menu straight from Ryan’s own “The Birds and The Bees Eggplant” in his own backyard.
“Even our cocktails change regularly due to the fresh fruit available. We use local pineapples for our house-infused rum. You will often see infusions made with local tamarind, mango or even jackfruit depending what is available. We make our own Kahlua using different herbs and spices. We even make our own cellos, usually offering Limoncello, Arancello and Pummellocello, however we do sometimes offer other varieties such as lemon basil cello made from our house-grown lemon basil.”
Each fall Tommy and Ryan take the time to travel to try new restaurants to stimulate new ideas. Both will be spending time at different Vineyards and throughout different parts of the Mediterranean to bring some new inspirations back with them this fall.
“Extra Virgin Bistro was built from humble roots. We strive to pair excellent service with the freshest possible ingredients and hope that our guests leave feeling like part of our family. Nestled right in the heart of Cruz Bay, in an intimate little dining atmosphere, surrounded by palm trees and garden pallets, we want our guests to leave feeling they had friendly, attentive and efficient service paired with fresh, delicious food for great value.”