Longtime Big Sky restaurant hopes fund-raiser will keep them open


BIG SKY, Mont. - A longtime Big Sky restaurant that says an out-of-state developer is shutting them down, hopes a fund-raising campaign will allow them to stay open.

Kathy House, wife of co-owner Dave House, said Thursday that their triplet sons -- 17-year old Griffin, Trevor and Quinn -- started a fund-raising account on the website Fundly to help come up with $400,000 in just a few days.

Though it's a big goal, House said she hopes the money raised will help them find a way to stay open.

The funds would go toward making a land agreement and possibly buying land from Larry Burcalow, a Wisconson man who owns the property that surrounds the bar.

Co-owner Devon White told NBC Montana that Burcalow is forcing them to remove their septic system, a shed and other key parts of the restaurant and motel that are on Burcalow's land, by June 15. This comes after years of a legal battle between Burcalow and the restaurant, which has been open for more than 65 years.

Burcalow's land used to be owned by the Forest Service, White said, and the Corral had a special permit that allowed them to use the land.

When Burcalow took over, he made a deal with the restaurant owners to let them keep using the land, but White said that agreement expired in 2009.

If a new agreement isn't reached, House said donations will go toward trying to figure out a different solution to keep the restaurant open.

Fundly deposits donations right away into a special account, even if the goal amount isn't reached.

There will also be a fund-raising account set up Friday at First Security Bank in Big Sky, under the Friends of the Corral account.

For now, House said they plan to stay open, and aren't quite sure what will happen on June 15.

With their future completely up in the air, House said they plan to play it by ear with hopes the fund-raiser will help them find a solution.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Fundly account had more than 110 donors who raised over $9,700.