Krabloonik reconsiders: Restaurant to stay open
The owners of Krabloonik said Tuesday the restaurant will remain open with a simplified menu, which will keep the business in compliance with its 20-year lease with the town of Snowmass.
Krabloonik owners Danny and Gina Phillips announced last week plans to close the nearly 40-year-old restaurant in an effort to focus more on the business’s dog-sledding operations.
“We just want it to be simpler,” Danny Phillips said via phone Tuesday. “There’s a lot of restaurants and a lot of new things that have opened since the lease was signed originally, and people have great places to eat. We don’t want to compete with that, and we really want our guests to enjoy the dogs like they’re asking us. People just want to hang out with the dogs.”
The town of Snowmass, which owns the property and leases it to Krabloonik for $10 per year, had not been informed of the business’ decision prior to its Jan. 9 announcement, Town Manager Clint Kinney said.
“Since last week, when The Aspen Times brought this to our attention, we have been in contact with the owners of Krabloonik and are working well with them,” Kinney wrote Tuesday in an email to the Times. “They have informed us that they are continuing to operate the restaurant.
“As such, it is my understanding that they are in compliance with the lease terms.”
The lease between the town and Krabloonik states: “Consistent with past operations, the Krabloonik Restaurant shall be open for dinner business at least 100 days during each ski season.”
Phillips said the restaurant would “likely [close] down early in the evenings” and that they are still figuring out exact hours moving forward.
He confirmed the restaurant would be open for 100 days this winter season, per its lease.
“We got to this business model and this idea because of public input,” Phillips said. “You know, we’re listening to what our guests want and what the locals and the public want, and we’re just kind of adapting and making it work. … Fine dining doesn’t necessarily work.”
That input includes offering its famous mushroom soup, snacks and “more time with the dogs,” Phillips said.
Krabloonik founder Dan MacEachen started the dog-sledding business in 1974, and his sister Janet opened the restaurant a few years later, according to his Aspen Times obituary.
The Phillipses bought the business in December 2014 from MacEachen, who died in February 2016.
Krabloonik’s lease, which was amended in 2015 with the change in ownership, spans Sept. 25, 2006, to Sept. 25, 2026.
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Garfield County libraries will host James Edward Mills in its second event of the spring lecture series for a virtual conversation about changing the faces of the outdoors.