“Lolos” are what locals call informal outdoor barbecue restaurants, and are found all across St. Martin. Two of the most famous lolos are located in Grand Case, in the French half of the island. Grand Case is St. Martin’s restaurant row, and a single narrow street running parallel to the ocean, filled on each side with restaurants ranging from fancy to very simple. Any choice on Grand Case is probably at least solid, but some of the most popular are the lolos. The proprietors of these open-air restaurants are frequently seen pounding the pavement offering “1 dollar to 1 euro” currency conversions. Given the weakness of the dollar at the moment, that offer certainly caught our eye. However, the real draw is the laid-back atmosphere and tasty food.
Talk of the Town
The menus at Talk of the Town are displayed on wooden easels right on the sidewalk, and the delicious smell of shrimp and ribs on the grill draws passersby in. The lolo itself was a series of picnic tables covered with a canopy, adjacent to an open grill and a wooden bar. For less than ten dollars you can choose a main dish with a plate load of sides, cooked to order. I wish I had a picture of Talk of the Town itself, since it is no simple affair (we’re talking 30+ picnic tables), and is usually packed to the brim with an assortment of locals and tourists alike.
Our table ordered the Creole shrimp, Barbecue Ribs and BBQ chicken. The plate came with a heaping helping of side dishes, each of which can be ordered as a side dish for a couple of bucks. As you can see, the creole shrimp above came with a smörgåsbord of sides: a green salad, coleslaw (which was quite good and fresh), mac and cheese, red beans and rice, and spaghetti in creole sauce. The shrimp was beyond fresh, and with a beach-side location dotted with fishing and shrimping boats it’s no surprise. The ocean-fresh shrimp were well-complimented by the creole sauce, which was was a piquant blend of curry, onion, peppers, garlic, and hot sauce. The barbecue dishes were tangy and spicy with a tomato-based sauce that rivals any Southern BBQ joint. We would highly recommend Talk of the Town to anyone visiting St. Martin. It’s a unique experience with some excellent food. Beyond that, the high turnover and constant crowds assure all dishes are fresh to order.
Sky’s the Limit
Located right next to Talk of the Town, we just narrowly chose against Sky’s the Limit. Both have a similar laid-back vibe, feature open grills and outdoor seating at informal wooden booths.