St. Maarten Café set to re-open

When St. Maarten Café abruptly closed at the end of January after 26 years, the outpouring of nostalgia and grief was immediate. A Friends of St. Maarten Café Facebook group had 350 members by 6pm on the day this news was reported at, and some of those commenting describe bursting into tears at hearing the news. The following day, a vigil was held outside the door of the restaurant, with people leaving flowers and cards. Owners Jim and Lisa Roland, who finally chose to retire, said they were stunned by the reaction.

Today, the Facebook group has 795 members.

And now there's some more stunning news. Thanks to a group of long-time patrons and investors, St. Maarten will reopen.

"We always used to joke about how we should all get together and buy the place," says Tim Mulholland, a Charlottesville-based information technology executive, who, along with four fellow members of the UVA Trigon Engineering Society's alumni network, partnered with recent St. Maarten managers Russ and Nicole Hamilton. The New St. Maarten Trading Company LLC closed on the sale of the restaurant last week.

"It's nice we can come in and keep it the same old place," says Russ Hamilton. "It's nice to take over the legacy."

Mulholland says that dedicated St. Maarten fans can join the fun by becoming Founder Mug Members. A membership is $500 with the proceeds directed to start-up costs and working capital. The membership includes an array of benefits, including a new 24-ounce mug.

There's no set date on the grand re-opening, but both Mulholland and Hamilton predict a March opening. Stay tuned.

Read more on: St. Maarten Café


You never know how much a place like maarten's means to you until it is gone. St. Maarten's is a great place, and I am looking forward to being able to have a go to place on the corner again.

They better have some good biscuits and gravy!

So happy it's not becoming another ho hum Trinity bar.

Trinity bar? Do they serve sacramental wine?

It would be nice to see citizens of the community be as quick to act for something productive to the local society, as they are to "save" their local liquor hole. Glad to see Charlottesvillian's have their priorities straight. Put that much passion into something with more noble and lofty goals, and really make a difference.

The Native: You might not want to be so quick to speak out with such accusations. You are completely unaware of what else any of these folks do with their passion, time and money. Perhaps you should consider giving them the benefit of the doubt instead of throwing around unfounded statements. Might make Charlottesville a better place if everyone wasn't so constantly accusatory.

The Native: St. Maarten has been a productive member of local society for more than two decades. Jobs, taxes, meals tax and so on. Not everything needs to qualify for a Nobel to be worthwhile. It is clearly important to a fairly broad segment of local society...strengthens the community

The Native: Please do no say such hurtful things. Besides stories like this, are fantastic, and this is a small business, that got a second chance. People, including myself and my husband don't even really drink anymore, but sure have had many a meal after the football games and has became the go to place for us wen in town. St. Maartens - live on, and we are so happy about it. If you aren't, thats too bad. You don't need to go.

I see you didn't have the stones to post that comment with your name, Native.

I hope they raise enough capital to add windows to the Wertland St side. It's an absolute must if that place is to succeed. With many outdoor options on the Corner it just doesn't appeal to students as a dark hole with outdated marine/tropical theme. And student money is what's going to keep the doors open. Love the place, but be realistic and recognize the shortcomings. Reopening as Maartens part deux without addressing the issues that caused its demise is recipe for closure, again. Good work by the community coming together to help out a great owner/couple.

The place was successful for 25 years without windows.

A lack of windows was not what caused its demise.

I didn't mean to state that the lack of windows was the sole cause for its closure. I love the place, but don't tell me windows absolutely wouldn't help bring in more folks.

Would they come in through the windows?

look folks, SkipD is a comedian.

I'm thrilled its reopening. I've never been a regular, but when I want to go out its the place I go. I like that the students leave it alone, that's what makes it so enticing to me when I go out on a Friday night. Its also been a place of memorable times for me. Its where my husband and I had our 3rd date and its the place my best friend and I went to the night before my wedding to blow off some steam. So glad to see people being proactive, way to go guys!

Hard to imagine anything more productive for local society than keeping a locally-owned small business running. I've always loved this place and can't wait to visit Maarten's redux when I'm back in Cville.