ZoZo’s Moving to Sugar Mill at Caneel Bay


ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill will open on November 1 at Caneel Bay Resort, above, offering stunning panoramic sunset views.


John Ferrigno is not giving up those tropical sunsets, he’s just trading the view for a vantage point on the north shore.

After weeks of speculation, Caneel Bay Resort officials last week announced that “local legend” restaurateur Ferrigno will be moving his popular ZoZo’s Ristorante from Gallows Point Resort to Caneel’s historic Sugar Mill.

“Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort on St. John, U.S.V.I., is announcing changes for one of the signature dining experiences at the resort,” according to Caneel’s prepared statement issued last week. “The Sugar Mill restaurant will be transformed with new management, renovation and a dining concept by ZoZo’s Ristorante.”

This is the second move for Ferrigno in about 14 years since he opened ZoZo’s in the location that is now Fatty Crab in Cruz Bay in 1999. ZoZo’s was in its original location for less than two years when Ferrigno moved the operation to Gallows Point Resort, where he transformed the former Ellington’s bar into a premier destination for elegant Italian fare and stunning sunsets over Pillsbury Sound.

After 12 years of high-volume business at the Gallows location, Ferrigno is excited about his restaurant’s new home at Caneel Bay, he explained.

“We’re very excited about the move,” said Ferrigno. “Caneel Bay is a world class resort and we’re honored to be a part of it. We’re really excited to partner with Rosewood and we think it’s the perfect fit for the next phase of ZoZo’s.”

Ferrigno is the first outside lease granted by any Rosewood Resort in the world. The restaurant will be called ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill, and while it ushers in a new phase for Ferrigno, the partnership also signifies a new chapter for Caneel.

“John (Ferrigno) is a successful restaurateur within the St. John dining scene and his involvement with the Sugar Mill is the start of a new chapter for Caneel Bay,” said the resort’s Managing Director Nikolay Hotze. “He along with Executive Chef Michael Fortino will take the resort dining experience to a new level, as our guests will soon discover.”

The Sugar Mill is housed high atop the ruins of an 18th century sugar mill affording breathtaking views of the resort property, the twinkling lights of St. Thomas in the distance and Caribbean sunsets.

“We’ll still have sunset views and actually this view is even better and offers more of a panoramic view,” said Ferrigno.

While ZoZo’s fans can rest assured that Chef Michael Fortino has no plans to ditch his wildly popular osso bucco or home made pastas, the new venue will offer a new menu, Ferrigno explained.

“We’re taking this opportunity to expand ZoZo’s beloved menu and give Chef Fortino a chance to show off his culinary skills,” said Ferrigno. “The menu is going to be a little more creative and will reflect the elegant surroundings at Caneel Bay. But all the favorites will stay on there; there are some items we will never stop serving.”

ZoZo’s last night of service in its current Gallows Point Location will be on Saturday night, July 27. Ferrigno will then spend the summer revamping the new restaurant space at Caneel. Sugar Mill renovation plans include transforming the former open kitchen into a lounge, moving the kitchen out of sight and transforming the raised round platform area into a circular bar.

“We’re keeping with the traditional elegance of the sugar mill and the resort,” Ferrigno said about renovations.

The new venue will also expand ZoZo’s capacity from its former 70 seat maximum — which included the upstairs bar seats — to a total of 110 seats.

The restaurant will open its doors when Caneel reopens on November 1 following its seasonal closure. ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill will be open Monday through Saturday until December 20. The restaurant will be open seven days a week in season and return to six days again in June, explained Ferrigno.

Another of the perks of the new location is Caneel’s dock access, explained Ferrigno.

“Boaters will be able to tie their dinghies up at Caneel’s dock and come have dinner with us,” he said. “It’s also in the works to get the Caneel ferry going to pick up St. Thomas residents to come out and dine at ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill.”

And residents should not fear the $20 parking fee at Caneel, since the parking will be validated at the restaurant, Ferrigno added.

So be sure to get a last dose of ZoZo’s at Gallows before July 27 and check out the new ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill when it opens in November.

“The staff is really excited about this move as well,” said Ferrigno. “We appreciate the community support that we have had for years and we hope the community continues to support us at the new site with our new menu.”