Volente businesses recover after Lake Travis flooding

Shack 512 co-owner Bazae Walker wipes down the restaurant’s tables last week. The eatery was engulfed by Lake Travis floodwaters in October. LESLEE BASSMAN

By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News

Mid October floods brought Lake Travis up to the roofline of Shack 512, a waterfront eatery surrounded by a hillside at 8714 Lime Creek Road in Volente. The staff has been working hard and steadily to open the the casual American restaurant’s doors last weekend.

“We came out here and we would grab what we could and just go up a level (on the hillside),” co-owner Bazae Walker said. “The water kept rising. We didn’t anticipate that. We just kept trying to save what we could.”

The crew finally reached the top of the incline, salvaging the restaurant’s furnishings atop the embankment and renting a trailer to store some of the goods, she said. The water was rising about a foot every hour, she said.

Lake Travis was just over 704 feet above mean sea level on Oct. 20, which was 146 percent full. Historically, this was the 5th highest level of Lake Travis and floodgates had to be opened at Mansfield Dam.

Eventually the restaurant will feature photos of the building being submerged in the floods, Walker said.

“Now, (the flood) is part of our history,” she said. “I want to display that. It’s something that we went through. Going through that, (the restaurant) is probably something I appreciate now more than ever.”

Walker and Jon Silva own the restaurant after buying out former partners and investors, Ashley and Ross Goolsby, who moved to Houston.

Walker said the majority of the process to reopen involved cleaning and assessing any damage. With the furnishings and most of the kitchen equipment saved, she said the largest item to purchase was a new stove. The floors, chairs and tables were sanded and refinished, and the outside now sports new blue paint that replaced the former green exterior. Out of the ordeal, Walker said only about 10 chairs and two tables could not be salvaged.

Walker said she and Silva were fortunate since the restaurant was set to shut its doors for the winter months only two weeks after the fall flood. She said the menu will remain the same for now.

“There’s been so much going on to get this place up and running, we’re not really doing any changes, not for the moment,” Walker said. “We’re sticking to what was working.” For more information, see www.shack512.com.


Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark

The Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark, 16107 FM 2769, opens May 4, weekends only, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, said Kara Weedman, a Four Points resident who co-owns the establishment with her husband, Adam, along with Gala and John Lyne. Once school ends and the weather warms up, more weekdays will be added, she said.

Although the park’s notable Tiki Bar was saved after the fall ordeal, the floods wreaked havoc on its grounds. Kara Weedman said contractors are performing electrical work and pump repair for water slide operations. She said her staff will be replacing warped and rotted wood, a result of high water levels, as well as replacing and staining fences.

“The Tiki Bar, which was the beach bar, was upside down (in flood waters),”she said. “Funny enough, it literally stood itself back up in the exact same spot (once the waters receded).”

Weedman said the Blues Bar, that was completely underwater, has been power washed, and will be home to private events this month. Fortunately, staff had emptied the bar before it was filled with flood water and the structure itself is concrete, not readily subject to damage, she said.

“Normally, everything is just stored safely and it’s a wipe down, clean up,” she said. “This year, and again, because we’re small, we (are doing) a lot of it ourselves. There’s no insurance that covered it.”

The waterpark’s year-round restaurant Beachside Billy’s was open special this fall to serve residents and workers who were assisting Volente flood victims. Weedman said a lot of those people reached out to help get the park back into shape this spring.

Moving forward, Weedman said the waterpark’s partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse to present showings of, “Jaws” to park goers is already scheduled for Saturday evenings this summer, with more information available at www.beachsidebillys.com.

The park will offer a new water activity, a saucer ride, as well as a new food trailer on the beach that will be convenient for quick dining including tacos, burgers and barbecue, she said. A new outdoor game lounge created out of the park’s sand volleyball court will also be featured, including large-sized washers, bean bag toss, checkers, Connect Four, bocce ball and a firepit  Weedman said.

“(It’s) all slated for opening day,” she said.

Volente community

Volente Mayor David Springer said he believes all of the local business reopenings this spring are “normal reopenings,” and cited Shack 512 owners as having saved most of the eatery’s furnishings as the waters rose to its rooftop. He said it wasn’t difficult for his city to get back on its feet following the flood event.

“There might have been some individuals that had a few problems but nothing that got back to the city,” Springer said.

Springer, a 20-year resident, won the city’s mayoral election in November.

A portion of the waterpark’s sand volleyball court will be used for a new outdoor game lounge including life-size Connect Four, checkers, washers, bocce ball and a firepit. The park is also featuring a new beach food truck and new water game when it opens May 4. LESLEE BASSMAN

During the October floods, waters rose to the roofline of Shack 512. The Lake Travis eatery opened last weekend. LESLEE BASSMAN

Last year’s floods engulfed the waterslides at Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark, now being readied for its May 4 opening. LESLEE BASSMAN

Shack 512 co-owner Jon Silva tries to salvage chairs on Oct. 18 from the Volente restaurant. The floodwaters rose up to the establishment’s roofline (back). LESLEE BASSMAN