New Owners Plan Some Changes at Book & Bean, Including New Name for Shop: Papaya Cafe

New Book and Bean owners John and Linda Dickson show off their growing Caribbean interest section.


John and Linda Dickson understand the importance of that first early morning cup of joe, and they plan to continue to offer the quality coffee and books that Book and Bean patrons have come to expect, while bringing in some artwork and gift items from their other business, Pink Papaya.

The Dicksons, who closed on the book store and coffee shop last week, saw an opportunity  to expand their Pink Papaya offerings when Book and Bean came on the market, explained John Dickson.

“We liked the location, and we saw an opportunity to add more cool Pink Papaya things such as artwork and photos by local artists and gift items,” said John Dickson. “We’re also both avid readers and coffee drinkers. We hope to make it a little more than a bookstore.”

Book lovers shouldn’t fret however, as the Dicksons plan to continue to carry Book and Bean’s regular stock of nearly 3,000 books and magazines, with an expanded Caribbean interest section including cookbooks.

“We’ll have cookbooks by local authors,” said Dickson. “We like to cook and we have gourmet cookbooks at Pink Papaya too.”

Pink Papaya, Papaya Cafe Remain Individual
Although Pink Papaya’s flair will be evident in Book and Bean — including in the book store’s new name, Papaya Cafe — the stores will remain individual, explained Dickson.

“We wanted to tie it to Pink Papaya, but the bookstore will never look like Pink Papaya with all that stuff,” he said. “It will have a life of its own.”

Helping establish Papaya Cafe’s individuality is a planned ice cream and Italian ice fountain/bar area, which the Dicksons hope to implement sometime this summer. The Italian ice will be made on site with local flavors such as tamarind and soursop.

For now, the Dicksons, who have lived on St. John and owned Pink Papaya for more than three years, are working out the logistics of running two businesses, and are unsure whether they will continue to expand their island business ownership.

Hours To Be Extended
“I can’t think much past right now,” said Dickson. “It’s all trial and error. Pink Papaya is open late, and the cafe is open early.”

Papaya Cafe, located on the first floor of The Marketplace across from Starfish Market, is currently open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Dicksons plan to soon expand the hours to open at 7 a.m. and hope to open on Sundays as well.

“There’s a lot of people up early looking for their coffee,” said Dickson.

The cafe’s hours may be extended to 8 p.m. once they begin selling ice cream and Italian ice.