Frank Duggan sitting in one of his restaurant’s famous peacock chairs.
Frank Duggan arrived on St. Croix in January 1975 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He had a brief stint sailing the islands and worked in several local restaurants learning the business. He returned to New England, working at Newport’s Black Pearl Restaurant, and then as a bartender at The Bull & Finch Pub in Boston, which was later made famous in the “Cheers” T.V. show. During the mid 1970’s Frank worked at the popular Commanche Restaurant in Christiansted. It was there that he met his mentor, Dick Boehm, who taught him what to do and not to do in the business. “What I learned most from Dick,” says Duggan, “Is the way he approached the guests, ‘Pretend you’re having a party at your own home’”. That he did!
In 1978 he became a partner in the highly successful Bailey’s Beach Bar & Restaurant in downtown Christiansted. In March of 1981 it was destroyed by fire. In May 1983 Duggan’s Reef opened. The name came from the old John Wayne movie “Donovan’s Reef.” Now beginning its 30th season, it has become an east end institution. Duggan’s Reef is the oldest restaurant on the east end of St. Croix.
Over the years many celebrities have dined at Duggan’s Reef, among them actors Bill Murray, Michael J. Fox, Steven Seagal and treasure hunter Mel Fisher. Former Connecticut Governor Lowell Wieker is a regular. Ted Kennedy and family always have their first and last meal here. Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens liked it enough to come back three times. Island resident and former New York Knicks star Walt Frasier loves the “Island-Style” fish. When asked why the restaurant has been so successful Frank says, “A strong knowledgeable staff with generous portions of food and drink. Overall, we like what we do and we hope it shows.” It does!
Duggan’s Reef offers a varied menu with local lobster and fish done several different ways, with numerous specials each evening. Duggan’s Reef is the perfect place for a special occasion, a private party, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. With the newly expanded deck that overlooks the Caribbean Sea, friendly staff and superb dining – you can’t go wrong! Remember Frank’s motto, “FRESH FISH OR NO FISH!”