Elk River Crossing adds stores

Louisiana-style restaurant, new service station, exercise gym coming to west side center

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— Byron Chrisman is so intent on bringing a new breakfast/lunch restaurant to Elk River Crossing, he's formed a new business entity with the owners of his favorite restaurant in Boulder.

Lucille's, offering Louisiana style dishes, should open in the shopping center on Steamboat's west side in early spring, Chrisman said.

The new restaurant will occupy the large corner space on the east end of the center, next to Arctic Liquors.

Chrisman is the developer of the shopping center formerly known as "curve development," and landlord for its primary tenant, Clark's Market.

The shopping center has never been full since it opened in March 1999. But the pace is picking up this year. Rock, Rattle and Stroll, a toddlers and infant store, opened last summer. More recently, a Glenwood Springs businessman, Dick Gilstrap, won approval for a gas station, quick mart and fast food outlet under one roof at the corner of U.S. 40 and Elk River road south. And TIC is preparing to move its employee exercise facility into the west wing of the center.

Chrisman acknowledged the new TIC facility won't generate as much traffic as a traditional retail store, but he said it will help.

"They run about 100 people a week through that facility," Chrisman said.

TIC's Kathleen Titus said the new exercise facility will not be open to the public. It is limited to the use of the employees of the contracting firm.

Lucille's will be owned by Steamboat Creole LLC. The principles will include Fletcher D. "Hank" Richards, Chrisman and owners of the Curve Deli, which is inside Clarks. They are Bob Ellsworth and Jim Borglin.

Lucille's in Boulder is one block east of the Hotel Boulderado, and is exceptionally popular patrons wait 30 to 45 minutes for a table on weekends, Chrisman said.

"It's going to be one of the most disappointing things in my life if this thing just doesn't go gangbusters," Chrisman said. Lucille's is known for its eggs benedict, he added, as well as lunch entrees like chicken robicheaux, etouffee and red beans and rice, with Andouoille sausage.

Chrisman said he hopes the new convenience store and fast food outlet (the brand name isn't yet finalized) will quadruple traffic at his center. He also hopes that the deli, Lucille's and the fast food outlet will generate traffic for one another.

Chrisman said the plans for the Steamboat Lucille's were set back by the events of Sept. 11, but business at the restaurant in Boulder bounced back quickly and they are back on track again. He acknowledges he's an optimist by nature but he hopes architectural plans for the interior of the restaurant will be done by the first of the year, and said there's a chance the restaurant will open in late March.

Gilstrap said he intends to break ground on his new gas station/convenience store/quick service restaurant as soon as the weather permits. Architect Eric Smith is currently preparing construction documents for bid. Although Gilstrap has a restaurant brand name in mind for his store, nothing is definite.

"We'll break ground as soon as the frost goes," Gilstrap said. "We're eager to get up and running."

Gilstrap owns five gas station convenience stores, all of which he leases to Kum & Go. The five stores include the one in Hayden. However, the new gas station will be branded under the Conoco name.

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