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Posts: 28
Eminent Member
Topic starter

I'd like some feedback:

I have been approached to open a NYC style deli in St Thomas, near the cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie.

Is there a need for a real authentic deli (real size corned beef sandwiches!!!) in STT?

If you know of any REAL deli's in STT, what are the names?

Thanks for the feedback!

Posted : February 23, 2011 11:51 pm
Exit Zero
Posts: 2460
Famed Member

pretty good Deli sandwiches available at the Delly Deck and Gourmet Gallery - both by the Havensite cruise ship dock .
Maybe the Crown Bay Dock ?? Although there is a Gourmet Gallery there too.
There is always a need for good , well priced food options on STT but I wouldn't count on the ship passengers buying it especially since the food is free on the ship and it is only steps away.

Posted : February 24, 2011 4:00 am
Posts: 2259
Noble Member

While it would be nice to have another deli, I think you should do some more research. Not only does Gourmet Gallery have deli counters, but grocery stores do as well. I remember the Manhattan Deli on Raphune which was great with Boar's Head meats and all and it too did not make it.
Agreeing with Zero about depending on the cruise traffic.
And lastly, Virgin Islanders on the whole are partial to hot meals (cook food) for lunch.

Posted : February 24, 2011 10:35 am
Posts: 457
Reputable Member

I agree with Ronnie, but a great pastrami sandwich on really awesome rye bread right now would be amazing! oh, and an authentic bagel....yum....I will pay to go there!

Posted : February 25, 2011 2:00 am
Posts: 812
Prominent Member

NewYork bagels....YUM!
Does anyone here know the difference of a bagel cooked in water?

Posted : February 25, 2011 2:35 am
Posts: 582
Honorable Member

Hey cheryl and Dun, if you see the frozen bagels called Just Bagels buy them - I know, I know they are frozen, but here on STJ they can't keep them in stock (actually only one store sells them so you have to look hard) They are made in NY and even my New York, Jewish friend had an OMG moment (she introduced me to them)


Posted : February 25, 2011 11:18 am
Posts: 956
Prominent Member

Sorry, this is slightly OT but why is it so hard to find Rye bread? Here in STX the only place I can find it is Foodtown occasionally and Plaza West frozen. Plaza East/CostULess/Pueblo are no bueno for Rye it really that odd of an item?


Posted : February 25, 2011 12:11 pm
Posts: 1085
Noble Member

The Delly Deck is THE PLACE. You could try to open a new place but you had better keep your costs down to a min. You can get rye bread down here. There is also a frozen rye bread.


Posted : February 25, 2011 1:34 pm
Posts: 353
Reputable Member

I think it would do fine. Gourmet Gallery has sandwiches but certainly not a "NY Style" deli. They do a good sandwich business because its priced well. Like anything else.....If its good and priced reasonably, it will do pretty well.

We were talking today and in a group of four involved in the conversation.....(who have been going to Shipwreck for several years) three of the four will not go anymore because the prices are getting to high. (not to mention 18% gratuity added even if the service is bad).........Just seems they are taking their customers for granted............

Good price, good food, good portions and good people = success.

Posted : February 25, 2011 9:50 pm
Posts: 579
Honorable Member

I think your greatest challenge might be finding (a steady supply of) real NY style ingredients. That alone, if at all possible, would probably drive up your prices to the extreme. If you were to start such a venture I would focus on serving transplanted locals rather than day visit tourists.

Posted : February 26, 2011 11:43 am
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

As an aside to this whole thread, if you are moving here, and I guess you are because you bought a condo, you might do better working in a related business for awhile, so you can see how things are here. I remember people talking about the need for a diner/pancake place. Well, IHOP failed miserably. Lots of people wanted it to work, but it didn't. You need to know your market.

Posted : February 26, 2011 2:43 pm
Posts: 74
Trusted Member

If you want to stand out and succeed, just start with really great Customer Service. There are plenty of businesses here that survive based on the fact that they have that certain market covered, but they offer really bad customer service and can do so because where else are you going to go.
Focus on a model that provides speedy, friendly service, it'll be much appreciated by locals and of course it's what is expected by visitors.

Posted : February 26, 2011 3:38 pm
Posts: 28
Eminent Member
Topic starter


Posted : February 26, 2011 10:15 pm
Posts: 525
Honorable Member

i have to agree with Exit Zero - a business plan that rely's on selling sandwiches to cruise ship passengers is not the best idea. By an large cruise ship passengers are notoriously frugal and don't like to spend money, especially on food since they get all they want on board ship. Some have been know to stuff their pockets at breakfast so they can "eat free" at lunch without returning to the ship. Peruse through any of the cruise ship travel forums and you'll find a common theme where cruise ship passengers are usually asking for ways to do and see things (in any given port) for free or for the least cost.

Posted : February 27, 2011 11:58 am
Posts: 3554
Famed Member

And doesn't at least one of the new mega ships have a NY style deli onboard?

Whoever approached you must be missing NY him/herself.

I've often wondered about selling popcorn here. When I was in Alaska, there was a very popular popcorn store. Who can resist the smell of freshly popped corn? I've never seen popcorn on a ship, and people buy snacks when they won't buy a meal. Jerk popcorn anyone? Caribbean caramel corn? Buttered rum popcorn? Popcorn w/Caribbean sea salt?

Posted : February 27, 2011 6:18 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

ms411: It would be soggy in a nanosecond!:-o

Posted : February 27, 2011 7:32 pm
Posts: 5
Active Member

If you do want to open a NYC style deli pm me about a new brand of coffee I have been looking to start selling at the havensight dock and we are also talking with the coffee shop at crown bay. It could be a way for you to add another line of income for your business.

Posted : March 1, 2011 10:23 am
Posts: 3111
Famed Member

Ever notice all the cruise ship passengers in Wendy's at Longbay? Never quite understood that, since, as mentioned, they can eat for free on the ship, and it's right there. I mean, it's not like Wendy's is local cuisine or any other reason to go there. I guess people are just comfortable with what they know (and Wendy's is cheap).

Posted : March 1, 2011 3:02 pm
Posts: 727
Honorable Member

I'd hope that would have more to do with having young kids that may be picky eaters then just being that cheap.

Although half the reason I haven't taken a cruise is because of the cruise passengers I see walking around in stx, stt, & sju. In general (not all) people seem to move in herds, dress sloppy, and not the friendliest.

Posted : March 1, 2011 5:46 pm
Posts: 408
Honorable Member

Yacht Haven may be a good place...many of us there griped about not having a place to go "run downstairs" to get a really good deli sandwich. Sure, you can walk to Gourmet Gallery at Havensite but when all the cruise ships are in, I would avoid it like the plague!! Fat Turtle, Wikked and Grand Cru, although fine, don't offer any deli options. It would be nice to have one there...

Posted : March 1, 2011 5:56 pm
Posts: 593
Honorable Member

Ever notice all the cruise ship passengers in Wendy's at Longbay? Never quite understood that, since, as mentioned, they can eat for free on the ship, and it's right there. I mean, it's not like Wendy's is local cuisine or any other reason to go there. I guess people are just comfortable with what they know (and Wendy's is cheap).

This says a lot about American travelers. I'm sure I'm not perfect, and I'm sure I've done things while traveling that make others cringe, but I find myself cringing quite a bit when I hang out with Americans traveling abroad. As a whole, we're just not very good at "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." For many, it seems, the American way (and particularly the chain restaurant or big box store American way) is the only way. I love to try local food (within reason... no fried scorpions for me, please!) when traveling, and I suppose there's no law that says you have to do that, but it seems that those who don't are really missing out on a lot.

Having said that, to get back on topic... maybe there's a way you can sort of stick your toe in the water by selling sandwiches from a stand before you dive in and start with a whole restaurant?

Posted : March 1, 2011 6:16 pm
Posts: 1495
Noble Member

I know this is off topic, but there are two local dishes I really like - fungi, and ox tail soup. Both sound disgusting, but they are excellent!

Posted : March 1, 2011 11:59 pm
Posts: 541
Honorable Member

I think it's difficult to find lunch on STT. Seems like there aren't many places, few of them fast enough to be useful for people who work. Prior to moving, on the few cruises I took that stopped in STT it was almost impossible to find a lunch. The few places downtown and in Havensight were always crowded, long wait, and expensive relative to the ho-hum food.

Perhaps this is why so many cruises are seen at Wendy's. They're in a hurry--have lots to see and not much time to spare for lunch. The sight of long lines/waits is a deterrent.

Posted : March 2, 2011 8:18 am
Posts: 727
Honorable Member

That's a good point Jules, I know that's my experience when I'm in STT on a busy cruise ship day. Try to get out of town as soon as possible at lunch time.

Posted : March 2, 2011 12:42 pm
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