If irreverent, obscure eats in paradise are your thing, it’s time to book a vacation to the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Soon enough, you could be floating in the Caribbean Sea, one hand holding a tortilla overflowing with saucy, stewed curry chicken and potatoes, while the other clutches a frothy spiked seltzer from local St. John Brewers, to cut through the spice of your taco’s fresh jalapeño-cilantro-pineapple chutney. This floating restaurant is far from a mirage, but rather, Lime Out, a boat-up-only venue that just celebrated three years of doling out floating meals and drinks.
Anchored near the East End of St. John, in Hanson Bay, this bright green taco shack built on pontoon boats was created by childhood friends Richard Baranowski, Dane Tarr, and Dylan Buchalter. Baranowski, who owns the local restaurant Lime Inn (get it?), tapped longtime chef Amaro Rivera to helm the kitchen, where he created a lunch menu melding Caribbean flavors and ingredients with the ultimate handheld food: the taco.
Only accessible by boat, tourists have to rent a speedboat (try Salt Deck, Voodoo or See & Ski powerboat rentals), kayak, or paddleboard to reach Lime Out. Swimming the 100 feet offshore to the bar and restaurant is forbidden, for obvious reasons. The restaurant is also in a no wake zone, meaning you’ll have to swim a few feet from your vessel to your floating booth or space at the swim-up bar before you can chow down.
Of course, Lime Out is a lunch party, and you’ll likely want a designated boat driver. Infused tamarind shots can kick off the afternoon while you dry off in your floating booth, followed by icy craft cocktails like The Danger, with Thai chili-infused tequila, fresh watermelon juice, fresh lime juice, and pineapple simple syrup, or a Harbor Cooler stirred with gin, house-made cucumber lime soda, and fresh lime juice.
Tacos range from $8 to $12 and include a vegan option with paprika-smoked black beans, quinoa, pickled onions, guacamole, jalapeños, sliced radishes, and local organic microgreens, as well as plenty of fresh fish specialties, like the popular Mahi ceviche taco, with pink grapefruit and orange segments, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, chili-garlic-passion-fruit dressing, radishes, and chipotle coleslaw. Once you order, your meal will be pushed from the barge to your floating booth, and, amazingly, will stay dry. As you eat, let the ocean be your napkin, and remember to luxuriate in the sun before paddling, souvenir t-shirt and reusable cocktail cup in hand, back to your ride home.
Lime Out is open daily from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.