ton of tails
BRECKENRIDGE – After two years of admittedly tough times in the Summit County restaurant biz, it might seem like a bad idea to consciously lose money to try to make money.
But that’s part of the rationale at work as restaurateur Chevy Rashidi makes High Country seafood fans a deal they can’t possibly refuse – fresh lobster every Friday for less than half of market price.
Rashidi, who runs Breckenridge’s Quandary Grill, Keystone’s Kickapoo Tavern and Paisanos, as well as restaurants in Beaver Creek and Winter Park, has instituted a Friday afternoon lobster deal at all his Summit County spots that might seem a little too good to be true.
This Friday, Rashidi is planning to airlift between 800 and 2,000 pounds of Atlantic lobster to serve at the mother of all Friday Afternoon Clubs. And those who visit Quandary or Kickapoo from 4-7 p.m. are in for a hell of a happy hour – half-pound to full-pound servings of lobster tails, lobster claws and other seafood for only $10 a plate, plus drink specials to wash it all down.
“I’m losing money on it S the lobster we’re buying is at least $20 a pound,” Rashidi says. “But we’re trying to create some synergy and some excitement by offering a deal that’s like the Friday Afternoon Clubs I remember from the East Coast. We’ve been doing it for a month and we try to mix things up every week – a couple of weeks ago we did a mixture of crab, mussels and jumbo shrimp, and we might try a surf and turf special later in the summer.”
Each Friday’s feast depends on the seafood Rashidi is able to source. In early June, he was able to get Australian lobster, followed by a week’s worth of cold water Canadian lobster – and he plans on ending the season with a load of live lobster. So far, it’s resulted in packed houses on Friday afternoons, and this week promises nothing but wall-to-wall traffic.
A 12-year veteran of the Summit County food business, Rashidi – who partners with John Shipp, Dale Bishop and Joe Taddeo in running the seven mountain restaurants – says the Quandary Grill has faced a bit of a struggle trying to bring customers to its Main Street Station location.
“When we thought about moving in here,” Rashidi said, “we had an idea that we’d be getting a lot of the business that the Village Pub used to get when this site was still the Belltower Mall, and that we’d be taking over that kind of scene. We were sold on this being a hub for traffic S instead, things have been very slow to develop.”
And with several neighboring businesses now out of business (including Maori’s restaurant) Rashidi says he’s willing to accept a bit of a loss to bring in more traffic.
“There seems to be this whole traffic light theory, as people from La Cima Mall told me when we were thinking about moving in here. We also realize it’s really hard to get the public to walk to businesses that are south of the Main Street traffic light,” Rashidi says. “We’d obviously like to change that.”
To that end, Rashidi helped bring the Toast of Breck and other events to Main Street Station’s pedestrian corridor, including last weekend’s Jazz Festival, August’s arts festival and a summertime Sunday morning Farmers’ Market with more than 45 vendors. He says promotions like the lobster festival have also done their share to help boost his customer traffic, although things could always be better.
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