Meat Up

The Meat Up restaurant recently opened in Market Square East on St. Thomas.

ST. THOMAS — It’s been a long time since island residents have had a convenient and affordable option for dinner and a movie. With the opening of The Meat Up last week in Market Square East, movie lovers can once again enjoy dinner before or after the show in one easy stop.

The location, formerly Kokopelli, suffered major damage in hurricanes Irma and Maria. In fact, the only piece of equipment still operating after the storms was the ice machine.

“The storm damaged the building heavily or they probably wouldn’t have left. It had to be completely restructured, with all new equipment and a brand-new build out. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the location,” manager Patrick Young said.

Despite the damage, its location next to Caribbean Cinemas and Cost-U-Less makes it a prime dining spot, especially since the reopening of Cost-U-Less on Friday, and there was a lot of interest in the location from several local restaurant owners. Also, with plenty of parking, air conditioning and midway down Weymouth Rhymer Highway, it’s an ideal detour to wait out the inevitable traffic after work, the place for a quick bite to ease the appetite before going food shopping or just to watch the game on a weekend with a cold drink.

A year in the making, managing partner Melissa Pond and three local silent partners have completely changed the entire layout, and The Meat Up has a whole new attitude of “come out, hang out, have fun,” welcoming all age demographics. Decorated in warm and inviting reds and oranges with comfortable seating and several large screen TVs, The Meat Up is looking to become a local hangout for both singles and families, with a large full-service bar intentionally separated from the main dining area by a partial wall, a nod to diners with children.

The menu at The Meat Up concentrates on meats that they smoke themselves, though it offers a bit of everything, from build-your-own pizza to burgers, salads and tacos, as well as full plates such as their signature rosemary chicken and BBQ ribs with their own special sauce. If you just want a nibble, try a starter such as popcorn salmon or a small bite such as the “Bucket of Bones,” a combination of wings and ribs. Pastas and seafood will soon be added to the menu as well.

A separate kids’ menu makes it affordable for a family night out. With options ranging from $6 to $8, it includes several kid favorites such as chicken tenders and mac ‘n cheese.

Where the Meat Up is likely to shine, however, is with their luscious dessert shakes. Definitely made to share, four milkshake options are topped with extras goodies such as an entire piece of cheesecake, a brownie with a scoop of ice cream, a homemade s’more with a chocolate drizzle or a piece of birthday cake. Add a shot of Amaretto, Cruzan Vanilla or coffee liqueur to make it an adult libation. Can a dessert get any more decadent?

“We had a great opening weekend and are looking forward to bigger and better things,” summed up Young.

The Meat Up is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Happy Hour starts this week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Check out their Facebook page The Meat Up USVI to check out what’s new or call 340-774-6328.