For eighteen years Liz and Jerry Buckalew welcomed guests to Entre Nous,
their formal dining French restaurant. In October 1997, together with their good friend and Executive Chef, Patrick Bellantoni, they re-created the dining experience and became Banana Tree Grille
, in the same location. The ambience is informal, welcoming and relaxing. Chef Bellantoni has retired. We thank him for many wonderful years of food and memories.
Orginally from Monroe, Connecticut, Liz's Italian and Irish heritage and family background of radio and theatre have influenced her approach to the restaurant business. "A restaurant should be a place for family and friends to gather for luscious food and celebration. Where wine and chocolate abound, how could one not be happy!" Liz envisions the business as theatre. The curtain goes up every evening. You prepare for it, have a few hours to make it a hit and hope everyone loves it as much as you do.
Jerry grew up in Fair Haven, New Jersey and has a nightclub background. After bartending his way across the country and through college, he started his career as a history teacher, but fate led him to hospitality. While Jerry's focus is the "back of the house" and Liz's is the "front of the house", you will see Jerry visiting with guests during the evening, and is always available for a discussion about golf.
We enthusiastically welcomed Chef Benjamin to Banana Tree Grille in June 2015.
David was born on the Island of Dominica and his family relocated to St. Thomas when he was a child.
Chef knew at a very early age his path was food. He breathed, worked, trained, grew and
explored styles and techniques in many St Thomas restaurants. Chef Benjamin became
part of the Ritz Carlton St. Thomas team as a line cook in 2006 and moved to the specialized
management overseeing The Bleuwater Restaurant and Great Bay Lounge.
David's passion is seafood. He is creative and has the "gift of the heart through the hands"
which reflects his respect and love of all food. His fresh seafood and produce is always sourced
locally as available. The staff looks forward to offering Chef's specials each evening. Enjoy.
One of the things we really like about our staff is they want you to have a fabulous evening with us!
A welcoming smile will greet you and make you comfortable. We love food, wine and sweets (the key lime pie is amazing) and are happy to make recommendations. We enjoy helping you to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, as well as romantic dinners for two at "the footsie table"!
As you step in to the restaurant you can see into the kitchen. You will see Kumar our sauté chef, Jesus our grill master and Chef David Benjamin. On the gallery page we introduce you to the "front of the house" staff.
~ luscious honey, as my Grandmother Hannah always said ~