Popular lobster shack eyes return to Basalt | PostIndependent.com

Popular lobster shack eyes return to Basalt

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

Butch Darden hopes to have his popular lobster shack back in business in Basalt this summer.

Darden applied to the town to open his shack on the grass lawn just west of the historic Kelly Block Building at 144 Midland Ave. The town is starting its review of the application.

"My fingers are crossed," Darden said Wednesday.

Butch's Lobster Shack was a fixture at the Phillips 66 station downtown until four years ago. The station changed hands and Darden couldn't renew a lease with the new owner. He rented from the town of Basalt at the old recycling center site for one summer but has been absent for two years.

Darden said he gets bombarded with inquiries about returning, especially since a public notice went up recently about the application for a food vendor business by the Kelly Block.

"Everybody is asking," he said. "You wouldn't believe how many people."

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Butch's was revered as an East Coast-style seafood restaurant with Maine lobster, crab legs, shrimp and various fish. The menu will remain the same, he said, with the addition of more broiled fish.

Two trailers would be used at the new site, according to the application. One would be used for ordering, cooking and delivery. The other trailer would be located directly behind the historic building and used for kitchen preparation and dish washing. Darden doesn't anticipate erecting a tent for customer seating as he did in the past but the site plan indicates there would be outdoor seating available for roughly 30 diners.

The Kelly Block Building, where Heirlooms is located, was purchased for $2.2 million by Star Mesa Properties last fall. The upstairs, which had once been a boarding house, was remodeled into offices.

The building had been in the Margaret Darien family since 1944.

A fire destroyed or damaged eight buildings on Basalt's main street in 1899. The Kelly Block was rebuilt with brick and a stone foundation in 1900, so it's a big part of the town's history.

The sale last year included nearly 3,000 square feet of vacant land around the building, including a significant amount on the west side where Butch aims to locate.

Darden said he hopes to obtain town approvals in time to open in July this year. The review starts with the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission on June 5.

His application to the town said his long-tern business plan is to operate from June through mid-September, seven days per week. Hours would be 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends.