After years of playing the rules, Celebrity Chef Digby Stridiron has put his cards on the table and has changed the game and the status quo of what is considered fine dining in the Caribbean with his new restaurant balter in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. And yes, the cliché is true, Virgin Islanders don’t really need a reason to have a party. As long as there is good food, music, and people… it’s a party. So just in case you were wondering the meaning behind the name balter, it means to dance artlessly, without particular grace or skill but usually with enjoyment.
Stridiron who is well-known to the global community of food enthusiast around the world, has orchestrated eloquent events for a client list that includes, but not limited to, celebrities like NFL star Kerry Rhodes, Vivica Fox, and Basketball Wives of LA. Stridiron who eventually went on the road with recording artist Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, ultimately succumb to his true calling of becoming one wicked Caribbean Chef, as well as, the Culinary Ambassador to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Stridiron, who once upon a time had humble beginnings as chef de partie of the highly acclaimed upscale restaurant Luma in the Park located in Orlando, Florida, returned to his native land of St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands with a culinary bag full of tricks. Trading in the hustle and bustle of the mainland for the tight-knit community of St. Croix, Stridiron brought with him a new way of dining that illuminates a dimension of Old World Caribbean cuisine with a modern twist, along with a farm-to-table and farm-to-glass concept, taking the concept of farm-to-table to an entirely new level in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
And although the concept of farm-to-table may not be new to some, the concept of farm-to-glass will be new to many. Signature cocktails at balter use only the best local vegetables and fruits grown on the island. Together with his co-owner, Sommelier Patrick Kralik, both Stridiron and Kralik are determined to use the best of what the land and sea has to offer, creating a forever changing menu both in the kitchen and at the bar that reflects the current season in St. Croix. So if it’s not in season… then it’s not on the menu.
And when it comes to the past greeting the present, Stridiron is no stranger, balter is located at the intersection of Company Street and Queen Cross Street in Christiansted in a 250-year-old build with a unique history of its own, and has been reinvented to meet the needs of the restaurant, while still conserving the key elements of the history of the building. The dining room at balter has a view into the kitchen, making you feel like you’re a part of the family and the culinary experience. The art hanging gracefully on the walls pays tribute to the people of the island, the mesmerizing culture, and local artists.
Stridiron produces culinary experiences that are so alluring, and unique, there is probably no other chef that can lay claim to the charismatic culinary experience paying homage to Spain, England, Holland, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark, and the United States; representing the seven flags of those who once governed and currently governed the U. S. Virgin Islands, while still preserving and honoring the diversity and richness of the Caribbean, African, Indian and Latin American people of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
balter should not be considered just your ordinary Caribbean restaurant, it’s an experience, not just simply a place to dine. Eating is a necessity but cooking is an art, and you should think of Chef Digby Stridiron as your artist, and your plate…Your Masterpiece. You have to experience balter with an open mind and an empty stomach ready for an gastronomical journey. The menu has an eclectic take on traditional Caribbean dishes with a fine dining setting, as well as, a less formal setting with a separate menu in its courtyard, which makes the culinary experience even more exciting for us food enthusiasts.
Stridiron’s signature fusion speaks loud and clear and is well reflected in balter’s menus. Order a bowl of the popular dish kallaloo and fungi, a soupy stew that gets its roots from West Africa, and you will receive a dish that takes you beyond the limitation and boundaries of the traditional kallaloo and fungi found in the Caribbean. Kallaloo and Fungi served at balter will leave you filled with love, pleasure, and guilt. Why guilt? I’m glad you ask. This is not your grandmother’s traditional recipe, even the local favorite pork belly gets to be the star of the show and is served with a modern twist. And what can be better than grandma’s recipes passed on from generation to generation? Well… stop by balter in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and find out. Just don’t tell Grandma. Or better yet…take Grandma to balter for a special night out. And don’t worry, balter aims to please with their made to order dishes, so I guarantee you, Grandma will love balter just as much as you do.