Tail Up Goat co-owner Jill Tyler didn’t hear from her family for five days after Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. Virgin Islands. It took that long for her mother and stepfather to place a call on the storm-ravaged island.
“They drove into Cruz Bay,” Tyler says. “The deck of Ronnie’s Pizza is the only spot on St. John with cell phone service. People line up to take turns. They called to let us know they were okay.”
For the duration of the hurricane, her mother and stepfather docked the sailboat they live on in Hurricane Hole along with about 90 other boats. “Only ten of 90 are still afloat, and one of them is theirs,” Tyler says. “They feel very blessed.”
Though Tyler has lived in D.C. for 15 years, the U.S. Virgin Islands still feel like home. She and her family moved to St. Thomas in 1989 when Tyler was in kindergarten. A few weeks later, Hurricane Hugo hit. She remembers it vividly.
“Our roof peeled away from our home and we took shelter in a closet and held a mattress over our heads,” she says. “We didn’t have power for months. Our roof was a blue FEMA tarp. To bathe, my parents dipped buckets on ropes into our cistern to pull up water, and we showered with cups and buckets.” At one point she contracted Dengue fever and grew delirious.
Having lived through hurricanes and storms while on St. Thomas, Tyler thinks residents won’t have electricity for months. Some are concerned the islands they call home will be ignored or forgotten.
Eager for a way to help, Tail Up Goat is heading up a city-wide fundraiser. Tyler is asking bars and restaurants throughout D.C. to put a Caribbean cocktail on their menu. One dollar from each drink sold will go to relief efforts targeted for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Tyler’s restaurant is serving a rum-based Painkiller cocktail. While she says Tail Up Goat will keep the fundraiser going until power is restored to the islands, she’s only asking other restaurants and bars to keep the fundraiser cocktail on the menu for a minimum of four weeks.
Convivial and Boundary Stone responded within minutes in solidarity. “The special thing about being in the industry in D.C. is how supportive restaurants are of each other,” she says. “To me, this is such an example.”
So far participants include:
Convivial, serving a Bad Irma
Doi Moi, serving a piña colada
Himitsu, serving a Painkiller
The Red Hen, serving the Skinny Legs
Osteria Morini, serving a Caribbean Brezza
Chez Billy Sud
Sally’s Middle Name
Hill Prince, serving a Mai Tai variation
DGS, serving a Mai Tai variation
Whaley’s, serving a Mai Tai variation
Bourbon, serving a Bluegrass Bird
Atlas Restaurant Group (Baltimore)