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Steamboat Magazine

Mussels in the Mountains

07/21/2023 07:00AM ● By Suzy Magill
Steamboat Springs, CO - 8th Street Steakhouse is known for many things: their ranch-to-table house-cut beef, the lively Western feel, and most of all, the fact that guests cook their own steaks, guided by staff at two lava rock grills. It’s the place to be in downtown Steamboat - but especially so on Thursday nights. 

8th Street Steakhouse’s “Mussels and Martinis” night runs every Thursday from April to December, advertising $6 martinis and a $6 pound of mussels, served with housemade garlic butter. 

Worried about eating seafood in the mountains? After all, Colorado is land-locked by already land-locked states. Tim Pahula, owner of 8th Street Steakhouse, assures guests they have nothing to worry about. 

The mussels are flown in every Thursday from Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia, the primary provider of fresh mussels in North America which have a top-tier reputation year-round.
Once the mussels arrive in downtown Steamboat, they are kept on ice until prepared.

“You can’t just throw them in water,” Tim explains. “They’re saltwater creatures and they arrive alive. You have to change that ice a couple of times a day because if it turns into fresh water, they’ll die.”

With mussels, it’s easy to gauge their freshness because once they die, they open up. While a diner may avoid closed mussels that may not have cooked correctly, Tim looks out for open ones.
“When I get them, they’re all in their shell, and that’s how it’s supposed to be,” he says. “If you get them and the shells are starting to open, they’re not good anymore.”

8th Street Steakhouse has served mussels for almost two decades without issue, and they guarantee the freshness (and deliciousness) of this special to customers searching for good seafood in the midst of the mountains. 

But to serve fresh mussels and minimize waste, the restaurant has to be exact with their orders. 
“It is a little tricky sometimes. You don’t want to order too many because, with something fresh like that, you just end up throwing them out,” Tim explains. “It’s one of those specials that sometimes we run out of, and that’s just how it is.”

So on Thursday, head to 8th Street Steakhouse knowing the supply is fresh, tasty and limited.