Keeping you informed of Truckee-Lake Tahoe food-and-drink news.
It’s clear that California and Nevada locals and visitors alike are keen to make up for lost time traveling, and Lake Tahoe is likely to be busier than ever this fall. Fortunately, with 72 miles of shoreline and hundreds of restaurants and bars dotting the lake, there’s plenty of room to spread out. Even better, Reno and Tahoe locals have the added benefit of being able to travel midweek and easily can head to a dinner at the lake on a Wednesday night while tourists scramble to find weekend reservations.
If you’re planning on spending time at Lake Tahoe this fall (and who wouldn’t?), try to stop by one of the new establishments below or swing by one of the Lake Tahoe events coming back in 2021 after a year-long hiatus.
Updates from South Lake
After closing in late 2018, the Tahoma Market & Deli on Lake Tahoe’s southwest shore is back. Under new ownership, the fresh-sandwich-and-salad deli is once again serving up its beloved oversized sandwiches. The newly revamped space offers coffee and breakfast items, plus build-your-own sandwiches and salads. Hungry guests are advised to place their sandwich orders online or over the phone as early as possible, as the market is one of the area’s most popular stops for lunch.
The Tahoma Market first debuted at this location in 1943 for guests of the former Tahoma Resort, which opened in 1916. The Tahoma Resort was one of the first lodges in Lake Tahoe and offered rooms at the reasonable rate of $4 a night at the time of the Tahoma Market’s opening.
South Lake Tahoe visitors have a funky new option for where to grab a meal and a cold beer after a day spent summiting Freel Peak or watching the salmon run at Taylor Creek: Flatstick Pub. Not only does the roomy eatery have an extensive menu of beer and food, but it has something you won’t find at any other lakeside restaurant: mini-golf. The new pub opened on June 12 of this year, though according to Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Robinson, the concept was in development since December 2020. Flatstick Pub originally began as a chain in Washington state, though its locations in Northern California, including at Lake Tahoe, are operated by Tipsy Putt, which also is the name of the mini-golf course inside the new South Lake pub.
Jennifer, who owns the pub along with husband Brandon Robinson and brother-in-law Jesse Ledin, has a background that lends itself well to the new venture. She describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” while Brandon has been an avid golfer his whole life, and Ledin has extensive experience in the food-and-beverage industry.
“The vibe inside is casual,” Jennifer says. “We’re a perfect spot for a first date or family gathering.”
While she acknowledges that mini-golf can have a juvenile element, they’ve built Flatstick Pub to be adult-focused.
“We’ve elevated the game to make it more competitive and less cliché,” she says. “We are built with adults in mind, and you’ll see golf course obstacles made of beer kegs.” (Flatstick Pub is family-friendly until around 7 p.m.)
As for the menu, it’s bound to be a hit with visitors who’ve spent the morning burning calories hiking, mountain biking, or skiing: It’s “cheese-inspired.”
“We have melty artisan grilled cheeses, pizzas, hearty soups, salads, and bar food shareables,” she adds. “My personal favorite is the Reuben. We’ve perfected the classic Reuben recipe to ensure the bread is never soggy.”
The Word from West Shore
Good news for West Shore residents and visitors: The Dog and Bear Neighborhood Tavern is still on the way. Originally hoping to open in early summer 2021, the team encountered a few staffing and permitting delays and, at the time of this writing, plans a September launch — perfect timing for guests hoping to try the tavern’s extensive local beer menu and decadent pizzas. Keep an eye on the website (Thedogandbear.com) for opening announcements if you’re hoping to swing by for happy hour after a long autumn hike around Meeks Bay or Sugar Pine Point State Park.
Tahoe City picked up a new restaurant in mid-July: Mirada Tacos & Tequila. Mirada, which means look or view, is a fitting name, as it’s North Lake Tahoe’s only waterfront Mexican restaurant. Mirada is in the Boatworks mall in the former location of Hacienda del Lago. The menu is small but tasty, with street tacos, guacamole, ceviche, and house-made churros. Terra Calegari, director of sales and marketing, says the restaurant will focus on “fresh, elevated cuisine,” along with handmade margaritas and other cocktails.
News from North Lake
Locals who live for fall days spent at Tahoe’s mountain resorts have some new and returning options. The Resort at Squaw Creek unveiled an all-new menu at its Sandy’s Pub, along with recommended beer pairings for each barbecue selection. The “upscale barbecue” concept includes menu items such as pork shoulder topped with the restaurant’s Gold Coast BBQ Sauce, pecan-smoked chicken wings, wagyu beef burgers with truffle cheese, and a red quinoa grain bowl with a smoked-onion vinaigrette. Sandy’s Pub also has more than 10 beers on tap selected to pair perfectly with the menu items, an outdoor dining space, and decadent milkshakes topped with churros and salted pretzels.
Mountain bikers and skiers in the Truckee area also have a new place to grab a bite to eat or a beer at happy hour: In September, RMU Outdoors opened the company’s third shop in Truckee (the other two are in Breckenridge, Colo., and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada). RMU’s retail shop is focused on mountain biking and skiing, plus related gear and apparel and a bike and ski repair shop. Fortunately for Truckee guests, RMU also includes a laid-back tavern with plenty of local beers on tap, as well as spirits and wines. Housed in the former Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. building in historic Downtown Truckee, the large space will include an indoor bar and outdoor patio with live music on select afternoons and evenings. According to RMU Outdoors’ leadership, Truckee was determined to be a great spot for a third location, owing to the town’s reputation for amazing skiing and mountain biking.
“RMU is working to preserve mountain culture and work with local businesses. We are a mountain culture company and want to keep these local communities connected to the outdoor world around them,” says Chris Glynn, chief operating officer at RMU.
No matter when you head to the lake, remember to switch to Lake Tahoe time: It’s likely to be crowded in town during the fall, and servers and staff members are doing their best to make sure locals and tourists alike have a great time. But hey, what does it matter if your favorite drink takes five minutes longer than usual to arrive? That’s just an extra five minutes you get to spend admiring beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Suzie Dundas is a Tahoe-based freelance writer who specializes in active travel, outdoor recreation, and the mountain lifestyle. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Fodors, Outside, TripSavvy, SkyLife magazine, and many more. When not working, she loves getting outside to bike or ski on Tahoe’s trails. Find more of her work at Suziedundas.com.