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CAFE SERVES UP OLD AMBIENCE, NEW CUISINE

If you're looking for a little taste of Old St. Thomas with a very today flavor, go to the "head of Pave Street" — actually to a café bearing that name that is situated at the east end of Norre Gade, which was once called Pave Street because it was the first paved street on the island.
This fact and many others come to light as Terrylyn Smock excitedly talks about her new restaurant, which opened a few weeks ago. The interior of the small café is bathed in soft pastels with white tablecloths, comfortable chairs she painted herself, local artwork and what closely resembles a 19th Century West Indian pie cabinet.
"I found it at an antique shop and went home and kept thinking about it that night," she says of the piece of furniture, "and I realized the café just had to have it." The cabinet's pastel blue color sets the room off, even though it's not really filled with pies.
However, good things to eat abound on the eclectic menu. Smock says her goal was to offer something different from the usual West Indian "double starches" and to introduce a new concept to the neighborhood, a healthier and lighter menu. Which she has, sort of.
That's if you ignore the breakfast offerings of peach Melba brandied waffles covered in whipped cream and raspberry sauce, and biscuits and gravy. She makes up for these indulgences at lunch, though, with light salads, pita breads and soups. And there's espresso and cappuccino all day long.
Smock was an attorney with the Government Employees Retirement System before quitting a few years ago. After that, she says, she tossed around ideas for a new career, "something different," while meantime running a household with her husband, attorney Henry Smock, and two children, now 12 and 14 years old.
"I wanted to do something to contribute to the community," she says, "and I kept coming back to this neighborhood" — right behind the U.S. District Court building and within shouting distance of the Territorial Court complex.
Actually, she says, she had already decided to open a restaurant before she settled on the location. She first looked around Rothschild Francis "Market" Square but found real estate too expensive and the ambience lacking.
Upper Norre Gade, or Pave Street, beckoned to her — and it seemed an ideal location. "There's so much history here, and it's an area that could use a little gentrification," she says. In the 1700s, she says, the area was known as "the lagoon," as it was a protected harbor where boats hid during storms.
After taking a good look at what for years had been the Fanfare Flowers shop, she decided it was the site for her, although it was occupied by another flower and gift concern. Smock talked to the tenant, who told her the owner "definitely didn't want food in the location."
She smiles, recalling the conversation. "Well, let me to talk to the owner," she replied. Although tiny in stature, the lady can be very big on determination, and, voila! — the food, the location, the café.
She enlisted the help of her children, Michael and Rebecca, and several of their schoolmates in the early renovation work, tempting them with a "real demolition opportunity." They hacked away, eliminating a wall and creating more space, salvaging the wood they removed. Then she brought in a carpenter, who told her the wood was "too old, not good" to use. Smock says she replied, "It'll be fine. I want the old." Now, the pastel green counter reflects her decision and keeps the West Indian decor.
One thing in the neighborhood that has little to do with local history should be a boost to her business: the imposing new Theodore Tunick & Co. building with its three floors of office space above nearby Beltjen Road. Another main sources of clientele, of course, is the legal community from the nearby federal and local courts.
Attorney Lori Gilmore was, in fact, having breakfast as the interview for this story proceeded. She commended Smock on the inviting decor, which even includes a nook for a tete a tete or perhaps, less romantically, a deposition.
And soon to be added is a back patio. "I already have the umbrellas," Smock says. The café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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If you're looking for a little taste of Old St. Thomas with a very today flavor, go to the "head of Pave Street" -- actually to a café bearing that name that is situated at the east end of Norre Gade, which was once called Pave Street because it was the first paved street on the island.
This fact and many others come to light as Terrylyn Smock excitedly talks about her new restaurant, which opened a few weeks ago. The interior of the small café is bathed in soft pastels with white tablecloths, comfortable chairs she painted herself, local artwork and what closely resembles a 19th Century West Indian pie cabinet.
"I found it at an antique shop and went home and kept thinking about it that night," she says of the piece of furniture, "and I realized the café just had to have it." The cabinet's pastel blue color sets the room off, even though it's not really filled with pies.
However, good things to eat abound on the eclectic menu. Smock says her goal was to offer something different from the usual West Indian "double starches" and to introduce a new concept to the neighborhood, a healthier and lighter menu. Which she has, sort of.
That's if you ignore the breakfast offerings of peach Melba brandied waffles covered in whipped cream and raspberry sauce, and biscuits and gravy. She makes up for these indulgences at lunch, though, with light salads, pita breads and soups. And there's espresso and cappuccino all day long.
Smock was an attorney with the Government Employees Retirement System before quitting a few years ago. After that, she says, she tossed around ideas for a new career, "something different," while meantime running a household with her husband, attorney Henry Smock, and two children, now 12 and 14 years old.
"I wanted to do something to contribute to the community," she says, "and I kept coming back to this neighborhood" -- right behind the U.S. District Court building and within shouting distance of the Territorial Court complex.
Actually, she says, she had already decided to open a restaurant before she settled on the location. She first looked around Rothschild Francis "Market" Square but found real estate too expensive and the ambience lacking.
Upper Norre Gade, or Pave Street, beckoned to her -- and it seemed an ideal location. "There's so much history here, and it's an area that could use a little gentrification," she says. In the 1700s, she says, the area was known as "the lagoon," as it was a protected harbor where boats hid during storms.
After taking a good look at what for years had been the Fanfare Flowers shop, she decided it was the site for her, although it was occupied by another flower and gift concern. Smock talked to the tenant, who told her the owner "definitely didn't want food in the location."
She smiles, recalling the conversation. "Well, let me to talk to the owner," she replied. Although tiny in stature, the lady can be very big on determination, and, voila! -- the food, the location, the café.
She enlisted the help of her children, Michael and Rebecca, and several of their schoolmates in the early renovation work, tempting them with a "real demolition opportunity." They hacked away, eliminating a wall and creating more space, salvaging the wood they removed. Then she brought in a carpenter, who told her the wood was "too old, not good" to use. Smock says she replied, "It'll be fine. I want the old." Now, the pastel green counter reflects her decision and keeps the West Indian decor.
One thing in the neighborhood that has little to do with local history should be a boost to her business: the imposing new Theodore Tunick & Co. building with its three floors of office space above nearby Beltjen Road. Another main sources of clientele, of course, is the legal community from the nearby federal and local courts.
Attorney Lori Gilmore was, in fact, having breakfast as the interview for this story proceeded. She commended Smock on the inviting decor, which even includes a nook for a tete a tete or perhaps, less romantically, a deposition.
And soon to be added is a back patio. "I already have the umbrellas," Smock says. The café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.