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St. John: Chain Restaurants & Stop Lights?

This is totally a Photoshopped pic. I promise you that Wendy’s is not coming back to Wharfside. 🙂

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Let’s keep it light and easy today. Today we’re talking stop lights and chain restaurants.

One thing that makes St John so magical is the lack of any sort of chain restaurants. But did you know that we used to have not one, but two American chains on St John? It’s true!

Imagine wandering through Wharfside Village, gazing out toward the beautiful turquoise waters of Cruz Bay and passing by a Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Sounds terrible, right?! Well back in the early 90s, this is exactly what would have happened! Wendy’s was located in the section of Wharfside Village where La Tapa is today. It closed in 1992 after a fire caused extensive damage to the restaurant.

The old Subway building

Subway was the second and only other fast food chain to operate on St. John. (To my knowledge… Correct me if I’m wrong about this, folks.) It was located in a trailer across from Woody’s where Tap & Still is today. Subway closed in 2008, and then was transformed briefly into a campaign office. Since then, numerous restaurants have been in that spot including Iguana Grill, Across the Street, Umami and currently Tap & Still.

Now let’s talk stop lights. St. John does not have any… most of the time. 🙂 The only time we have a stoplight on St. John is when we have some roadwork going on. There are currently some out in Coral Bay where there is some roadwork happening. Once the roadwork is complete, we’ll return to being a stoplight-free island once again.

I don’t know about you, but I always love a random tidbit like these. And I hope you all do too!

Curious which restaurants are currently on island? I promise there aren’t any fast food ones! Check out our searchable restaurant map at

Lastly, you still have time to enter to win a St. John vacation for just $25! Proceeds will support the Animal Care Center of St. John. Get additional details on our prize package & purchase tickets securely at

St John’s current stoplight – One of only two at the moment. 🙂


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  1. Justin

    Did not know this about chain restaurants! So, so glad there aren’t any now, and I hope there never will be! Thanks, Jenn for sharing!

  2. Justin

    Did not know this about chain restaurants! So, so glad there aren’t any now, and I hope there never will be! Thanks, Jenn for sharing!

  3. Paula

    When visiting STJ the first time in 1986 I was so surprised to see a Marshals in STTHOMAS. I noticed it on the ride to Red Hook. That shocked me, then got to STJ and saw Wendy’s, blew my mind.

  4. Karen M

    Your headline scared me for a minute! I thought NOOO! I remember when Subway was there and was happy when it closed just because it was a chain. I felt it took away from what STJ has to offer.

  5. Pat

    Can Pussers be considered a chain? There was one in Wharfside when it first opened, upstairs. We weren’t happy when We days went in, but used to like watching for friends come in on ferries while we had painkillers!

    • Jenn Manes

      I guess it can be. They actually have one ion Florida too. I was thinking more of the large-scale ones like McDonald’s and the like. But yes, you are right!

      Random fact: I used to live in an apartment in Wharfside and we still had an old Pusser’s lamp hanging in our hallway. 🙂

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