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St. Thomas Restaurants Defy Economic Trends

May 29, 2009 – Two new eateries and one restaurant's re-opening under new management are bucking the trend of business closures on St. Thomas.
The Pie Whole in Frenchtown, Fresh Start in Havensight and Hull Bay Hideaway have all opened their doors (and gates) to welcome hungry St. Thomians and visitors despite a tough economy.
All three eateries couldn't be more distinct from one another. Pie Whole is an upscale handmade pizza place with just 28 seats, while Fresh Start's specialty are gelatos, sorbets and ice creams, and Hull Bay Hideaway, under fresh management, is unapologetically "fanatically local."
Pie Whole's diners can watch their pizza going right into a 700-degrees oven from their seats in the 28 seat dining room. The non-smoking restaurant serves pizzas, pastas and salads from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and their $14 lunch special includes a personal pizza or pasta and a salad, served in 14 minutes or fewer.
Chef Earl Elrod prepares the dough and pasta fresh daily at the restaurant.
Dinner at Pie Whole is served Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Appetizers and salads are $9 and $10 and pasta entrees range from $12 to $14. The 13-inch pizza is made with hand-stretched white or wheat dough and starts at $12 for a cheese pizza with $2 for each additional topping, and ranges up to $16 for specialty pizzas like the Veg-head, Pollo-pesto and the Holy Trinity.
Pie Whole offers a full bar and offers wine by the glass ($7 – $10) or by the bottle ($26 – $80).
Pie Whole also offers carry out. The phone number is 340-642-5074.
Hull Bay Hideaway, the longtime North Side local hangout is fully open after a brief hiatus and has brought back many of its well-loved standards. Recently purchased by Mimi and Frank Alioto, who used to own Marina Market in Red Hook, Hull Bay Hideaway's pool tables are back in the bar, new tables are in the pavilion and tetherball equipment is on order for the grassy area.
The restaurant-pub-community center is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Lunch is served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features Arthur Williams Signature Presidente Burger for $9. Sandwiches start at $4 for a grilled cheese and go up to $11 for a sirloin steak sandwich.
The kitchen makes appetizers and sandwiches from 4 to 6 p.m. and dinner is served from 6 p.m.. Appetizers start at $7 for Chicken Tenders and Mozzarella Sticks and go up to $8.75 for a Shrimp Basket.
Entrees start at $18 for a Chicken Breast and up to $21 for the New York Strip Steak. Pasta dishes are all $12 and the children's' menu includes Hot Dogs at $4 and Sliders at $6.
Fresh Start has the unusual distinction of being St. Thomas's only gelato emporium co-located with a scooter rental business, Tropical Scooter Rentals. It may also be St. Thomas' only gelato venue.
Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream, which is not as cold as and contains less fat than ice cream, according to owner Osbert Liburd, Jr.
Across from Dockside Bookshop, the new shop serves homemade gelatos and sorbets in a variety of imaginative and delicious flavors that change almost everyday. For Friday, May 29, the weekend's feature flavor, guava-cinnamon, was inspired by a recipe by Liburd's mother. Other gelatos include peanut, almond joy and birthday cake. Sorbets are pineapple, watermelon and orange-lemon-carrot.
Fresh Start also serves 14 flavors of ice cream. Prices range from $3 for a scoop of ice cream to $6 for a large gelato.
Liburd expects to expand his offerings to pastries and cakes soon and eventually to soups, salads and sandwiches.
Fresh Start has not yet held its grand opening, but its operating hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The shop can be reached at 340-714-7408.

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