The site occupied by the Hook, Line & Sinker has an interesting and varied history. Originally, Hassel Island was connected to St. Thomas just to the west of the Hook, Line & Sinker. However, in the 1940's the Army Corps of Engineers blasted through and created Haulover Cut, to improve the water circulation in the area and provide a passage for boat traffic.
circa 1950s, photo by Claude Maloon
Used by permission
|In the 1930's the
that is now the Hook, Line & Sinker was used as a warehouse
liquor. Since there was no dock where large ships could unload,
ship's crewmen would dump the barrels of liquor over the side
young boys from Frenchtown were paid to swim them in from the
Later, the building was used by a Mr. Van Beverhoudt for a factory where he made soap, coconut jelly and bay rum. It was also used as a storage house for fishing and boating supplies. Many fishermen built their boats along the watefront beside the present day Hook, Line & Sinker.
|The location was first used as a bar in the late 60's. In the building behind the warehouse, Ray Berry opened a bar called The Green Parrot. Unfortunately, being blocked by the warehouse, it had no view and was your typical dark and smoky bar, made colorful, however, by its clientele. Roman Wernikowski saw the potential of a waterfront saloon in this spot, and negotiated to take over The Green Parrot and create the Quarter Deck. Roman Wernikowski was an Antilles Airboat pilot, who would mind his business at the restaurant until he was needed for a flight, at which time he would be summoned by the airboat ramp agent who would run over to get him.||
Used by permission
In 1976, the Quarter Deck was purchased by Dick and JoAnn Stadelmaier, whose warm personality made it a place that "locals love and visitors are happy to find." Within a few weeks of purchasing the business, it burned to the ground. Dick and Jo served hamburgers and beers on the dock until the place was rebuilt. They carried on serving hamburgers and seafood until 1987, when the present owners Ted and Becky Luscz, took over, renaming the restaurant the Hook, Line and Sinker.
|Two years later, Hurricane Hugo ravaged St. Thomas and left the Hook, Line & Sinker with two feet of water and mud inside, damaged equipment, debris piled high outside, and the aft deck of a boat right in the corner booth of the building! Fortunately, however, the roof and basic structure remained intact, and the Hook, Line & Sinker crew got the place up and running in two weeks, serving food and cold drinks to those who no longer had a kitchen or fridge.|
|Then, in 1994, the Quetel family, who owns the property, made major renovations; rebuilding the docks and completing a new office building next door. Ted and Becky took advantage of that opportunity to give the Hook, Line & Sinker a new look, too. On August 31st they closed their doors, and by the afternoon of September 1st, the place had been completely gutted. Exactly six weeks to that date (a record in Virgin Island building history), the Hook, Line & Sinker reopened with a fresh, clean new decor.|
|In 1995, Hurricane Marilyn threatened to undo all that the Quetels and the Luscz's had done. However, aside from leaving a sailing yacht on the Hook, Line's doorstep, Frenchtown fared better than most areas of St. Thomas. The docks were damaged, and there was over three feet of water inside of the building, but again the roof and walls remained intact. This time the energetic HLS crew swept, shoveled, vacuumed and cleaned and in only six days (with generator power) opened the restaurant serving hot meals and cold drinks. Amid the chaos of hurricane recovery, the Hook, Line & Sinker became a place to sit down and relax, visit with friends you couldn't phone, and fill up on comfort food. In addition to the tired and hungry local residents, the Hook, Line staff served the power and phone crews that came from all over the country to help get St. Thomas up and running, along with the insurance adjusters, FEMA workers, construction crews, and the myriads of other folks who found themselves on St. Thomas during the hurricane's aftermath.|
|Thankfully, the last few years have been uneventful, and the Hook, Line & Sinker staff have settled into their comfortable routine, serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch all year long with a smile.|