Taste of the Caribbean: Late-Night Eats at The Roach Coach, St. Croix
How many of you can relate to this scenario…
You’re on St. Croix. In Christiansted. It’s late. Very, very late. You’ve been partying. Really, really partying. You need some food. Tasty, filling, sobriety inducing home-cooked food.
I’ve followed this script more times than anyone would care to remember. Trust me, there’s only one truly viable option: The Waterfront Food Truck.
Now, you may have lived in St. Croix in the past. You may even live there now. Or maybe you’ve visited the island countless times in recent years. Either way, it’s a good bet most of you won’t know the spot pictured above by the name I just mentioned.
It’s one of the names preferred by the owners, but they’re about the only ones I’ve ever heard use it. The rest of us? We know it affectionately as The Roach Coach.
As authentic an institution on St. Croix as anything I’ve ever known, enjoyed or even heard of, the Roach Coach has been around for more than 40 years! Real old timers have another name for it: Miss Lucy’s Truck.
Miss Lucy, along with a bunch of her siblings and family members, arrived in St. Croix in the 1960’s from the San Fernando area in southwestern Trinidad. Like my parents, who also hail from San Fernando, Miss Lucy brought along her home country’s many varied culinary traditions, mixing them sweetly with local Crucian and Continental fare to create some of the very best eats on the island.
We try to infuse the Crucian and the American cultures, so we’ll have something like baked chicken, baked macaroni, BBQ chicken, dumpling and saltfish, conch and butter sauce, stew goat, BBQ ribs, fried fish, stewed fish…
These are the words of Nichole, Miss Lucy’s niece.
She took over the sales and service part of the business 10 years ago, giving her aunt more time to rest at night. Everything you can buy at the
Roach Coach Waterfront Food Truck, though, is still made by Miss Lucy, so you can count on being well-fed.
Generous portions and nice prices not only keep people coming back for more, they also helped to keep Miss Lucy out of jail.
Years ago, she was arrested for refusing to follow a new local ordinance forbidding food trucks from operating in the downtown area that had been the business’ home. Local citizens in love with Miss Lucy’s cooking rallied to her defense in court, facilitating her release and the return of the
Roach Coach Waterfront Food Truck to its usual/rightful corner, where King and Church street meet.
Nichole is out there every Wednesday to Saturday, from 7pm until about 1am, or whenever the food is mostly gone. She’s got a full line-up of soft drinks and beers to go with all that nice food too.
Personally, I make a point never to leave St. Croix without getting a taste of the pates here. Lobster, saltfish, conch, chicken, veggie and beef varieties were all available when I stopped here this past Saturday. I wished I had room for all of them, but “settled” for the lobster and saltfish, the light, fluffy shells and nicely spiced seafood hidden inside punctuating my joy in being home like few other flavors ever could.
When you go, be sure never to refer to the truck as The Roach Coach. (Seriously, they don’t like that.) Also, don’t even think about giving Nichole a hug.
Her smile and friendly ways, combined with her aunt’s incredible food and your inebriated state, when applicable, may encourage affection, but she’s much rather have your respect and continued business than anything frisky…