A handful of new restaurants have opened in Tahoe City and the West Shore. In case you haven’t visited them yet, we thought we’d do the dirty work for you and get the scoop on some of the new culinary ventures.
Two in One: Dockside 700 and Double Dog Deli
Meander down to the Tahoe City Marina to find Dockside 700: Wine Bar & Grill. Part restaurant, part deli, part grab-and-go — this new lakefront restaurant has a lot going on under one roof. Stop in for a breakfast burrito or a bottle of wine. Choose to dine full-service and enjoy the lakefront view or order your lunch to-go and take it down to Commons Beach. Don’t feel like cooking tonight? Purchase a take ‘n bake entree from the deli counter and pop it in the oven.
Owners Dave Richardson and Marsha Wagner opened Dockside 700 and Double Dog Deli, the to-go aspect of the business, this past spring. Prior to this venture, Richardson prepared to-go meals for the Scolari’s grocery chains. Having worked solely in the back of the house for so long, the owners yearned for more customer interaction. So they moved shop to Tahoe City and expanded their business.
‘We just really wanted to get back to seeing our customers, and knowing who they are,’ Richardson said in an interview in May.
Dockside 700’s menu features a scrumptious selection for all three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try the Tahoe Skillet ($8.95), featuring three eggs scrambled with your choice of meat, potatoes, cheese, pepper, and onions for a wake-up. Stopping in for lunch? Choose between the selections of hot and cold sandwiches, or just build one yourself ($5.95/base price). The dining room opens at 6 p.m. and features entrees ranging from handmade shrimp ravioli to a Colorado rack of lamb, all in the $15 to $25 price range. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Info: 700 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, (530) 581-0303, dockside700.com
A Taste of Italy: Where We Met
What do you do when you graduate from college with a degree in printmaking and a love affair with Italy? Elizabeth Fontaine wasn’t sure until her grandparents gave her an idea — open up a gelateria and espresso bar in Tahoma. Fontaine, 22, who studied art in Cortona, Italy and has been to the country five times, liked the idea of staying connected with her adopted nation. So in June she opened Where We Met, which serves up seven different flavors of gelato, the frozen treat that was invented in Italy in the 16th century, as well as a full espresso bar. Both the gelato and espresso are imported from Italy. The gelato flavors change daily and usually include three sorbet flavors for those who are lactose intolerant (sorbet is made from water instead of milk). On weekends there is also homemade tiramisu.
Fontaine chose the name of the shop because she met her boyfriend in Italy, and also because she hopes the gelateria will serve as a gathering place for this West Shore outpost.
‘There is nothing to do in Tahoma,’ she said. ‘It’s a place where people can come, kids can ride there bikes here, it brings the community here, and some culture to the town.’
Fontaine used her art skills to create an inviting space. The walls are painted a pale yellow and the outside feels like an Italian cafe — customers can take their time savoring their gelato as they sit under one of the umbrellas next to an Italian flag. The store’s logo is a yellow bee, Napoleon’s personal emblem and a symbol found on ancient Tuscan architecture. Best of all, gelato is less fattening and has fewer calories than ice cream, which is made from cream. A sign in Where We Met says it all: ‘There’s always room for more gelato.’ Buon Appetito!
Open Sunday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday until 8 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prices: bambini $2, piccolo $3, medio $3.75, grande $4.50, to go $.75/ounce. Info: 7000 West Lake Blvd., Tahoma, (530) 525-1731.
Back From the Dead: Hacienda Del Lago
Families, happy hour hounds, and ski bums alike are rejoicing — Tahoe City’s favorite casual restaurant is back. Hacienda Del Lago is once again open for business. And with its reopening, Hacienda resurrected its killer happy hour — dollar nachos and cheap beer — along with signature menu favorites including chimis del lago ($9.95), tostadas ($9.95), enchiladas rancheras ($11.95), and beautiful margaritas. New with its reopening is a remodel, courtesy of Sol Y Lago, the restaurant that existed between Hacienda’s closure and reopening. Once a bit darker and 70s-esque in its first life, Hacienda is now a bright open space with tons of light streaming in from the solarium. The restaurant also has a huge bar and a bit of deck seating, both perfect for margarita sipping.
For those who aren’t as familiar with the significance of Hacienda’s reopening, I’ll indulge in a bit of background. For some thirty years, Hacienda del Lago was the restaurant in town for birthday parties and soccer teams. All the ski bums in town frequented its happy hour. And its down-home Mexican food menu, as well as the menu’s price point, struck a chord with the community. When Hacienda closed several years ago, an upscale restaurant moved in. Sol Y Lago brought with it a beautiful remodel, but the restaurant didn’t hit home like Hacienda had. It’s been two years since Sol Y Lago closed, and the restaurant has been empty ever since — a vacancy that’s hurt business in the Boatworks Mall. In recent years, many businesses on the second story of the Boatworks building either moved downstairs or out of the mall completely. It had become such a problem that the remaining business owners in the mall went to the landlord with a request to get Hacienda back.
‘He [the Boatworks landlord] called me and said, what would I have to do to get Hacienda back?’ said Hacienda owner Joe Lanza, in a May interview. The plea worked and Lanza and his team worked around the clock to reopen Hacienda in a short six weeks, just in time for the Fourth of July. The buzz surrounding Hacienda has not disappointed either. With its original, familiar atmosphere and menu, Tahoe City once again has its restaurant back.
‘I’d like to see it be a real family restaurant again,’ Lanza said.
Open seven days a week, 4:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Info: 760 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, (530) 581-3700
More Than FroYo: Poppy’s Frozen Yogurt & Waffle Shop
When Poppy’s opened last summer, it only served frozen yogurt. Since then, it has undergone two transformations — in the fall it added an espresso bar and homemade Brussels waffles, and in March it opened a grill and beer stand in its spacious courtyard.
‘It’s such a great place to hang out, we thought we should offer more,’ said owner John Holster of Poppy’s large patio and deck with lake views in the middle of downtown Tahoe City.
Holster’s wife Sarah cooks the waffles, which are based on her grandmother’s Portuguese family recipe. You can choose from sweet, like cinnamon toast or banana walnut, or savory. Sarah makes the batter every morning and cooks some of the ingredients right into the waffle: pesto to go with turkey and provolone, or cheddar and purple onion for a roast beef sandwich. You can also turn your favorite waffle into a breakfast sandwich by adding scrambled eggs.
Poppy’s is definitely a family affair. The restaurant is named for Sarah’s father in law, and her brother Matt Correa runs the grill. The grill offers hot dogs, pulled pork and tri-tip sandwiches, and hot Italian sausage, and has Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Summer, and Bud Light on tap.
In addition to six flavors of frozen yogurt, including a non-dairy and a low-sugar option, Poppy’s has started making smoothies, shakes, and ice coffees, including an Italian drink called affogato (a shot of espresso with vanilla frozen yogurt). ‘It’s pretty damned good,’ Holster said. Check their website for daily frozen yogurt flavors.
Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., grill 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. FroYo Prices: small cup $3, large $5, $1 for toppings. Waffles $4 to $5, sandwiches $6 to $7. Info: 521 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, poppystahoe.com.