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Sunday, February 5, 2023


Sept. 17, 2001 – Polli's Mexican Restaurant in Tillett Gardens on St. Thomas will close on Sept. 22. Owner Donna Smith plans to reopen at the Lumberyard Shopping Complex in Cruz Bay on St. John by Nov. 1.
"At least for lunch," she said. "We'll work into a full schedule."
The new St. John restaurant will feature the same Mexican-oriented menu as the current one on St. Thomas, Smith said, with the addition of more soups and sandwiches.
The new restaurant site overlooks the Creek, thanks to renovation work that entailed removing exterior walls. That work is complete, and Smith will soon start moving the restaurant's heavy equipment across Pillsbury Sound.
Smith said her research findings indicate that St. John has enough residents and visitors to support the restaurant. "We'll fill a niche," she said, noting that Polli's has reasonable prices and a casual ambience.
"This move is for our family," Smith said. Her husband, Kevin Smith, works at Starfish Market in Cruz Bay. Since they live on St. Thomas, Kevin Smith's long hours have prevented him from spending time with their young son, she said.
According to Rhoda Tillett, there are "many plans in the process" for a new restaurant in Tillett Gardens, where eateries, most of them featuring Mexican-style food, have been in operation since the late 1960s, when El Papagayo opened.
If a new restaurant tenant isn't finalized by the time the annual eight-concert season in the garden complex opens on Nov. 30, Tillett said, a catering service will be used for the pre-performance dinners and cabaret programs.

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