The leaseholders on the closed Coyote Springs restaurant at 435 Lincoln Ave. are talking to more than one entity about assuming the lease, according to the landlord.
Tom Sharp, who owns the building, which was known for many years as El Rancho restaurant, said Marty and JoAnne Boomgarden are seeking new restaurant owners to assume the balance of the lease and acquire their kitchen equipment. He said they have talked to the operators of a group of Mexican restaurants with several locations on Colorado's Front Range.
"The building is in the best shape it has been in since I've owned it," Sharp said. "And all of the equipment is new."
The Boomgardens could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Coyote Springs, which closed in mid-ski season, was the reincarnation of a restaurant that began doing business in the spring of 2002 as Seasons at the Pond. The front of the house offered fine dining, including breakfast and lunch. The back of the house offered a sports bar decorated with hockey memorabilia and intended to appeal to families.
The restaurant was managed by the Boomgardens' sons-in-law. In December 2002, Seasons at the Pond was identified by public health agencies as the source of a salmonella outbreak.
An investigation by the Routt County Department of Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment identified 51 cases of salmonelossis related to the December outbreak at the restaurant. It was thought the salmonella was transmitted through consumption of contaminated fruit salad.
Subsequently, in July 2003, a Steamboat man sickened by the salmonella outbreak sued the parent company of Seasons at the Pond.
The operators changed the name of the restaurant and began serving a Mexican-themed menu in time for the holiday rush at the ski area.
If the Boomgardens succeed in finding a new operator, it will represent the second time in several years the building has changed hands.
Before the opening of Seasons at the Pond, the building was occupied by a Mexican restaurant called El Rancho Nuevo. El Rancho Nuevo opened in 1997 and was shut down by Sharp for nonpayment of rent in August 2001.
Before 1997, the restaurant had been known for decades simply as El Rancho.
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