The former Lobster Trap restaurant in Cooper River Park will remain closed and undergo extensive renovations before reopening around Memorial Day 2015. The Lobster Trap closed in August, a few months after the death of its longtime operator, Tom Delimaris.
But county officials saw the potential for something new, according to Vesper.
“We started getting calls from some very reputable restaurants, asking what was the county’s intention for that site,” he noted.
“I was amazed at how much interest there was.”
County officials asked would-be tenants to tour the North Park Drive building and suggest improvements. Vesper said the restaurant project would complement an ongoing $23 million effort to upgrade the 346-acre park. That includes an effort to dredge the river and bolster its banks to help support rowing events. Officials said changes are likely to include a new roof, upgrades to the electrical and heating-and-cooling systems, and exterior improvements.
The county is seeking bids for architectural and engineering services at the site. It will hold a competition to select a restaurant operator in the late summer or early fall. “We don’t want a sports bar; we want a family restaurant,” Vesper added of the site, which has a liquor license. Park visitors said they’d welcome a new eatery.