Story and Photos by Suzie Dundas
Tahoe may be known more for its outdoor recreation than as a culinary destination, but it’s only a matter of time until word gets out that Tahoe is home to a growing restaurant scene. A variety of new restaurants have opened across the North and South shores, ranging from a locally owned ramen restaurant in Truckee to an affordable burger chain in South Lake Tahoe. We recommend heading to the lake for dinner or drinks this month while it’s still easy to get a table before ski season kicks into high gear.
North Shore News
This year, Truckee waved goodbye to Marg’s Taco Bistro, which closed its doors in May 2019. Hope isn’t lost for fans of creative tacos on the North Shore, however, as ROCO opened in the space in early September. Roco is the latest venture from West River Hospitality Group, which also operates Truckee Tavern, and it’s co-owned by Chris St. Martin and Tavern bartender Ryan Dierks.
The interior of the new ROCO in Truckee
St. Martin says the new space is actually two restaurants with a shared menu: ROCO, focused on ramen and Japanese spirits, and COMO, which features a menu of Mexican influences. St. Martin says the most popular items to date have been the pork tonkatsu ramen and guacamole topped with pomegranate seeds, both of which are made in-house from scratch. St. Martin and Dierks want both ROCO and COMO to be affordable, which they accomplish by sticking to simple and flavorful ingredients.
“My father always spent money on good ingredients for every dish,” St. Martin says. “He taught me that the meal can only be as good as the ingredients you put in it, and if you use the freshest products, you don’t need to mask the flavor of it with a lot of other things.”
Stella at the Cedar House Sport Hotel has long been known as one of Truckee’s best dining options, so long-time fans of the restaurant may be surprised to learn that there’s been a major shift behind the counter. Going in an entirely new direction, the restaurant now offers fast-casual Californian and Middle Eastern-inspired bites under the leadership of chef Lupe Solis. As with Stella’s previous iteration, the culinary team aims to source from within a 100-mile radius whenever possible. Chef Solis plans to open for dinner on select evenings though the fall, switching to a five-day-a-week model by ski season. The schedule of hours is online.
Vegan and vegetarian options are available at Stella, such as these tacos made with salsa cruda and seasonal vegetables
Several desserts are on the menu, including a cheesecake made with labneh with a graham cracker crust
Stella at the Cedar House Sport Hotel
10918 Brockway Road, Truckee
530-582-5655 • Cedarhousesporthotel.com/stella
South Shore Happenings
Everyone who lives along the shore knows how lucky we are to have such a plethora of dining options, but there’s good news out of South Lake for home chefs. The nearly 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market will be opening on November 6 in South Lake Tahoe. The opening begins at 9 a.m. with refreshments, complimentary tote bags for the first customers, and giveaways of “mystery” gift cards valued up to $100. Readers in Truckee won’t have to wait too long for their chance to buy higher-end groceries, however: A Raley’s is scheduled to open near the Truckee Airport in mid-2020.
Whole Foods Market
3600 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe
Not every meal has to be gourmet to be tasty, and there’s proof of that at Five Guys in South Lake Tahoe. The opening of the burgers-and-fries chain location was announced in September 2019, and there are plans for a Chipotle to open later this year in the same shopping center. The new Five Guys is just a short walk from the Heavenly Mountain Base Lodge; no doubt the new owners are hoping to capture more than a few hungry skiers headed home after a day of skiing.
3640B Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe
530-494-9031 • Fiveguys.com/Locations
Suzie Dundas is a Truckee-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Fodors, TripSavvy, Playboy, Lonely Planet, SkyLife Magazine, and many more. When not writing about Tahoe, you can find her doing the usual Tahoe activities, like biking, skiing and hiking. Check out more of her work at suziedundas.com