Del Norters have another option for acquiring local Dungeness crab at the Crescent City Harbor.
While North Coast crab fishermen were arguing for a better price, Lisa Butenschoen and her partner Debbie Lewis last week painted and put other finishing touches on the former Beacon Burger building, now the Crescent City Crab Shack.
Now that crab pots are coming into the harbor, the silver vat in front of the crab shack displays live crustaceans. The shack also offers cooked crab. Both live and cooked crab are being sold for $4.99 a pound currently, Butenschoen said Monday.
"I had two great days," she said. "It's awesome."
Lewis, who owns the Christina Maria boat, will be the business's main source for crab, although the crustaceans will also come from other local fishermen. Lewis said other than Alber Seafoods on Starfish Way, her business will be the only other shop offering Crescent City crab.
Lucy's Crab Shack, which was located on C-Dock at the harbor, was damaged in the 2011 tsunami and didn't reopen, Lewis said.
"Our focus is on local crab," she said, adding that local crab is also a large draw for tourists. "Crescent City is the No. 1 producing crab port on the West Coast in most years. Lisa's going to be cooking it, displaying it and selling it as cooked and live crab."
They received the keys to the building on Nov. 8. Once they got possession of the building, they had to completely renovate it, putting in new flooring, new sinks and new tiling, Butenschoen said. They passed the health inspection last Thursday.
While the two women are focused on crab now - the season lasts until July 15 - they plan to expand next year. Butenschoen said she and Lewis plan to offer oysters in January. They also plan to add a fish processing station to their business next spring, she said.
Lewis said she and Butenschoen plan to offer albacore, rock cod and rock prawns straight from local fishing boats. The crab shack will also offer salmon brought in locally and from Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove, she said.
"A lot of boats from here go south for salmon fishing," Lewis said. "They go to Oregon, too."
Butenschoen and Lewis may even venture into cooking.
"Maybe we'll get to a point where we can offer fish and chips," Butenschoen said. "We've got some pretty big dreams."
The Crescent City Crab Shack at 160 Anchor Way is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.