This feature originally appeared in Void Magazine’s February 2020 issue.

Carmelo’s Marketplace is damn near the most convenient place in St. Augustine. Are you hungry? They make delicious pizza. Thirsty? Hop into the beer cave to find a cool beverage. Need windshield wiper fluid? They have that too. 

Carmelo’s is one half pizzeria, one half gas station and convenience store, and all parts amazing. This month, we decided to delve into the behind-the-scenes nighttime culture that makes Carmelo’s not only convenient, but sometimes chaotic, and always endearing.

Steven & Siobhan (10:22 p.m.)
Siobhan: “No way! This is for Void? There’s no way. I live in Jacksonville I was a centerfold for Void three years ago for the drink issue! He lives here, I came down to hang out and get some pizza. That’s too funny.”
Steven: “I’m from New York…I have no idea what magazine you guys are talking about. If it has anything to do with surfing, I’m lost.”

(10:46 p.m.)
“Can you tell that I’m ready for a beer? I just got off of work at the Riverhouse. I got there at 1:30 for a wedding today and I’m spent. Let me tuck my shirt in before you take a photo…now I better not see that picture in person!”

Justin (10:55 p.m.)
“Guess what happened to me? I got kicked by a dern horse tonight. I was working a wedding at the White Room and one of the horses started pawing. I didn’t catch it in time…well I guess I did catch it. Just in the wrong way! I’ve been working with those horses for 15 years. I’m also a pirate, a walking tour guide, a ghost tour guide, and a licensed historian.”

Kayla & Banjo (11:04 p.m.)
“He’s only six months old…I’m starting to get a little scared of how big he’s going to get! I have a rope on a carabiner in the car, but he gets to excited that he just chews harder and harder. I’m afraid he’s going to chew right through it or rip a tooth out. But come on, look at those lips!”

Lea Thompson (left) & Darlene Serecka (right)  

Lea is 20 years old, has worked at Carmelo’s since this last October. “It was really insane in here for Christmas. I’m so glad that I can just ride my bike to work since I live downtown. It’s not that busy tonight since the students aren’t here. Usually at this time of night we’d have a line 45 minutes long.”

Darlene wasn’t willing to tell me her age, has worked at Carmelo’s for 2 ½ years. “Shoot me in the fucking head. The lottery just drives me crazy. People used to win more. Now, they never win. It just makes me said. I see people blowing their money left and right on tickets all the time here.” 

Darlene: “I owned my own data processing business back in New Jersey for 25 years until I moved down here with my hubby. We came to St. Augustine, well, because I just liked it. I always thought that it was so pretty here.”

Darlene also joked and asked Justin “Did you get kicked in the head?” While he was telling me his story of getting kicked by a horse that night. 

This feature originally appeared in Void Magazine’s February 2020 issue.