Sewer break causes huge concern for beloved Lehi business

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 23:58:52-05

LEHI, Utah - The future of a Lehi restaurant that's nearly half a century old is in limbo, after a sewage backup forced it to abruptly shut its doors.

Now, the City of Lehi-- which owns the building-- is deciding whether to pay for repairs, or take the property in a different direction.

Inside Porter's Place on Main Street, you'll find rustic charm and a rich history.

"We're very unique," longtime owner Bob Trepanier said. With a reputation as a steakhouse, he explained they also offer cowboy-inspired menu items like buffalo.

Porter's Place pays homage to the famous Wild West Mormon gunslinger Orrin Porter Rockwell.

"Porter Rockwell used to live in Lehi for a time," Trepanier said.

The tables are set just as they have been since 1971. But right now, the restaurant is closed and Trepanier said it's been that way since just before Christmas.

He explained that a sewer line backed up, and workers dug two large holes in the middle of the restaurant to find the problem.

Turns out the pipes are rotted out, and Trepanier said he had no choice but to shut down.

"As soon as you don't have sewage, you have to close," he said.

According to Cameron Boyle with the City of Lehi, they are still calculating the cost to fix the problem. However, they have a ballpark idea.

"Tens of thousands of dollars, thirty, forty thousand dollars even," he said.

The city is now deciding whether to foot the bill.

"As a city, we also have to be mindful of managing taxpayer dollars appropriately," Cameron said.

If they find the repairs are too expensive, he said they could potentially sell the property instead.

As each day ticks on, Trepanier said he's losing money.

"They're killing my business with their indecision," he said.

He's already let a dozen employees go, and he hung a sign in the window that explains Porter's Place is closed for good.

"I think it's 99.9 percent certain that we're done," he said.

As Trepanier becomes more certain of the restaurant's bleak future, Boyle said the final decision is up to the Lehi City Council.

He said he's hoping they'll figure it out next week.