“Lobster Crossing.” The sign, on the outskirts of Mina, Nevada, intrigued us.
We watched for several years as we drove Highway 95 through Nevada, the transformation of a derelict into a museum/restaurant. The huge boat in the not-quite-ghost town of Mina looked as if some Noah intended to save himself from the next inundation of flood waters that might pour over Montgomery Pass or surge up from Death Valley. Each time we drove by, its rehab had progressed like a labor of love by one person.
The sign increased our puzzlement. The lobsters we knew inhabited the New England seacoast. Maybe some kind of scorpion?
When the ark added a “Desert Lobster Café” sign, we stopped for lunch, enjoyed hamburgers and ice cream in the main building. The ark itself held wildlife displays including a mounted cougar posed as if to spring on us as we entered.
I don’t remember how the proprietor got into the business of raising the Australian freshwater crayfish, but, in brief, he fought with Fish and Game for several years until the Nevada Supreme Court put an end to it, for the right to raise the lobsters and sell them, live as fresh lobsters should be, to restaurants. However, a non-native species without natural predators can become invasive. The Las Vegas Sun summarized the case in 2003, several years before Eddy opened the restaurant, the sort of place where local men gather for mid-morning coffee and complaints about government interference.
We would have eaten there on later trips, but the restaurant closed, a sign now advertises rocks, and when we stopped for photos there was no indication of anyone in the building except for a man’s shadow behind a window.