Butch’s Lobster Shack teaming with Basalt to get open for summer
The town government of Basalt is teaming with Butch’s Lobster Shack to try to cross a hurdle and get the popular eatery open for the summer.
The town is trying to help Butch Darden acquire sewer service that the Eagle County Environmental Health Department said is required for the operation.
Town Manager Mike Scanlon said the town is willing to undertake the work to connect Butch’s mobile kitchen to the sewer system. Darden has reached an agreement to rent town-owned property at the former recycling center space just west of Town Hall and Wyly Arts Center.
However, the county environmental health department said Darden needs sewer service before he can open. He was located in the same spot last summer and operated with out a sewer hookup.
Darden said his operation is kind of like putting a round object in a square hole. Although it is temporary, it’s not mobile like a food truck. Therefore, government regulations consider him a fixed operation, so he needs sewer service.
Darden contends he just needs to get rid of “gray water” from his sinks. He said he doesn’t need a grease trap. Therefore, he hopes the Basalt Sanitation District will allow a simple hook-up.
If so, the town government hopes to find a way to avoid a costly “tap fee” for a sewer hook-up. Town Manager Mike Scanlon said the Basalt Sanitation District gave the town five Equivalent Residential Usage credits when the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park was dismantled last year. The sanitation district is a separate special taxing district that isn’t overseen by the town government.
The mobile home park had more than 30 residences hooked into the sewer system. Scanlon said many of the credits remain tied to the property. However, another five credits were given for use by the town as need arose, according to Scanlon.
Scanlon will go to the sanitation district’s board of directors meeting Tuesday night to seek permission to use one of the credits to serve the property where Butch wants to operate.
Scanlon also wants to see if the sewer connection can be temporary rather than permanent in nature. That would reduce the cost of hooking into the sewer system.
Darden said he hopes for a favorable decision from the sanitation district and quick work by a contractor the town has lined up. He already overcame one obstacle to reopening when he and the Basalt Downtown Business Association reached an agreement on the lease for the space. The association was designated by the town to handle the lease of the space.
Darden said his loyal customers from over the years are yearning for him to get the lobster shack back up. “Every day it’s, ‘When you opening?’” he said. “I was really overwhelmed by the response the community has shown to this thing.”
Once opened, his shack provides seating for about 35 people. He also has a good carryout business. Darden said there wouldn’t be huge changes this summer. He plans to provide more dinners that feature fish that isn’t fried. He also wants to serve king crab. “The price has come down,” he said.
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