New Park City restaurant owner purchases El Chubasco
April 5, 2018
After a recent expansion into Salt Lake and the addition of a to-go store in Park City, El Chubasco has another change to announce. It has a new owner.
Simon Shaner, who purchased the Grub Steak Restaurant in December, recently purchased the Mexican restaurant, whose primary location is at 1890 Bonanza Drive. The private equity investor living in the Salt Lake Valley now also owns the to-go location a couple doors down and the restaurant at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Salt Lake City location opened a few months ago.
Shaner said that he is excited to take on the operations of the restaurant, but he does not plan on making any major changes. He said that El Chubasco, which opened in 1997, already has a good reputation.
"I don't need to reinvent the wheel here, it's already working," he said.
He is considering introducing more dessert options, though, as well as selling some of the restaurant's famous salsa at local markets.
The opportunity to buy El Chubasco presented itself to Shaner earlier this year. He had told a repair technician who works on restaurants in Park City that he was looking to buy another restaurant. A few days later, he got a call telling him that a Mexican restaurant was up for sale.
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Shaner's knowledge of El Chubasco at the time was that it was a local's favorite. He recalled that, during the Sundance Film Festival a few years ago, some friends recommended that they go because they said it was one of the best spots in Park City.
"Everyone I talked to said, 'We eat there all the time. We love El Chubasco,'" he said.
After a few weeks of talking to a lender and negotiating with former owner Jeff Schwartz, the deal was settled.
"I feel super lucky," he said.
Schwartz and his wife Carrie purchased the restaurant a little more than three years ago from Craig Weaver and Jill Dunlap, who became the owners in 2006.
Schwartz said that he had a wonderful experience owning El Chubasco and that it is not the owner that makes it what it is, but the people who have been eating there and working there for more than two decades.
He did not disclose what his plans are for the future.
Shaner agreed that the tenured staff members help make El Chubasco stand out and said he is eager to work with them to continue the legacy as well as build one in the Salt Lake location.
"It's a gold mine waiting to be tapped," he said.