Gladys, Saint Thomas, and a Mango Colada Walk Into a Bar…
It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the beautiful island of Saint Thomas. I was young and almost got a tattoo here; let’s leave it at that. The beautiful views at the top of the island from the Skyride to Paradise Point are not to be missed. There are few things I find more beautiful than walking into a full restaurant and seeing people who look like me dining and running the place. It’s a wonderful feeling resembling pride.
Since it’s been so long, I asked a few local teenagers where I could find a cool local restaurant in town. They told me about a place called The Greenhouse. I rolled my eyes a bit because I know this restaurant, it’s found on many islands. It’s generic and sure to be packed with tourists.
UM…I DON’T THINK THIS IS SAFE…
The taxi service here resembles a safari open caravan truck capable of fitting 15 people comfortably. Though NOT very safe (with no seatbelts or doors), they offer a warm and breezy drive with all the scenery my eyes could drink up; long stretches of cream colored powder-like sand and crystal blue water on one side and little local shops and the island version of mini-malls on the other.
When the safari taxi dropped us off in their downtown area, I walked pass The Greenhouse and a couple of other bars full of tourists and drunk summer breakers. I wandered around until I found a little narrow pathway between two buildings. I felt like I was in a scene from the Secret Garden. That’s where I stumbled upon Gladys’ Bar and Restaurant.
The front door boasted several “best of” accolades from Yelp and TripAdvisor for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 so I said why not? From the moment I walked in I felt at home. There was jazz playing in the background, followed by the sounds of laughing children being chased by their mothers, exposed brick walls covered in black history and heritage, hardwood floors, and fresh produce was being displayed on a well-stocked bar.
I got seated at a small table by the window and began chatting with my lovely waitress Yara who with gorgeous locs down to her waist and the brightest smile, coaxed me into getting a mango colada (I don’t usually drink on work days). After carefully perusing Gladys’ classic island menu I decided on one of my favorite dishes: Goat Curry.
IS THAT MY GRANDMOTHER?!
I had just started to get into a work groove on my laptop when suddenly a loud, pitch evading voice with a thick Caribbean accent jolted me back to reality. As I looked around to see who was serenading us to Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with such boisterous confidence, I laid my eye upon Gladys herself. She looks like every island kid’s grandmother with a powerful presence, loud, charming, and running everything herself. Gladys has been serving dishes at this location since 1995 and she shows no sign of slowing down.
Now I have to say I don’t do fruity blended drinks. I’m a red wine or martini kind of girl but can I tell you I think that was the best mango colada I’ve ever had! They blended ripe mangos that were literally right in front of me just so fresh and so clean clean. It was really delicious, refreshing, and not too sweet.
My eyes kept drifting to the Gladys’ homemade pepper sauce on my table and I wondered if I was woman enough to try it. I mean this s**t looks LEGIT and terrifying; look at those huge chunks of pepper!
When my goat curry dish arrived it looked a bit unusual; at least not the way I was used to seeing curry. It was a lot more viscous and not stewed so it took a few bites for my brain to accept its texture. The flavor was mild but the goat meat was very tender. I really loved the plantains and the rice and beans.
The mac and cheese was also very mild in cheese flavor so I added the terrifying hot sauce and it helped…destroy my taste buds for the rest of the day…how is this stuff LEGAL??!
Although I was a little disappointed with the goat curry, I did love the atmosphere; it was very comfortable and welcoming and I ended up staying for several hours listening to jazz, enjoying my colada, and the very fast and free wifi. I always say I’ll try a restaurant twice before I make a final decision, so I look forward to coming back to Gladys’ Bar and Restaurant in Saint Thomas and giving some other options on their menu a try.
If you’re in Saint Thomas give Gladys’ Bar and Restaurant a try! Let me know when you do! I wanna hear all about it. Til next time!
5600 Royal Dane Mall
Suite #9, 00802-6401