TAHOE CITY - The River Ranch will celebrate its 40th anniversary under current ownership and in honor of this tenure, they will host an anniversary reception complete with live jazz on Thursday, Nov. 1, 5:30-8:30 p.m.For more than 100 years, there's been a lodge and restaurant at the Truckee River bend. For the last 40 years, the River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant has been under the ownership of Pete Friedrichsen and Denny Devin, who purchased it in 1972. Before their ownership, there was a long and colorful history of the River Ranch with joyous and difficult times for the old building. Originally called the Deer Park Inn, it was completed in 1888 and was a fashionable watering spot on a narrow-gauge railway, which brought many visitors to its door until the Great Depression when tourism can to a standstill. The building became dilapidated through disuse and subsequently burned down. The current building was built in the early 1950s primarily as a tennis camp. During the 1960 Olympic Games at nearby Squaw Valley, numerous foreign diplomats used the lodge as their headquarters and it became a popular destination for Bay Area socialites.Throughout the years, the River Ranch has been transformed into a charming, cozy 19-room lodge by continuous upgrading and remodeling with dcor that reflects the mountain charm. "The River Ranch has long history and holds a special place in many guest's hearts that has been passed down through generations. People who came to the River Ranch in their younger years re-visit the River Ranch with their grandchildren," said Lodge Manager Natalie Baird. Guests range from river rafters and fisherman in the summer to skiers and snow enthusiasts in the winter. The patio barbecue started as a glorified hot dog stand, really just a charcoal barbecue, ice chest, lemonade stand and keg of beer that was run by now retired veteran employee Jon L Weeden. The spacious patio bar with surrounding bar stools is a fixture now and a favorite watering hole.There is a "real" barbecue, with plenty of seating and live music in the summer. The patio is not only an oasis for music fans, rafters, bikers and other recreationalists but also a popular spot for river-side weddings. "Destination weddings in Tahoe are about experiencing the mountain life - and what better way than on the patio overlooking the river with pine tree covered mountains as the backdrop?" said Linda Johns, banquet manager. Over the years, there has been a variety of employees, reflecting the image of the resort town. However, there are many old timers celebrating more than 10 years of employment at the River Ranch. "The atmosphere has always been full of fun and friendships," said Justin Stout, restaurant supervisor. "There is a great sense of camaraderie with all staff and managers."The River Ranch matured from an Italian family style kind of place to a steakhouse, and has evolved into the continental California-style fine dining restaurant it is today.Diners are treated to a comprehensive menu by Executive Chef Julia Walter, who has orchestrated the culinary direction at the River Ranch for more than five years. With a degree from Johnson and Whales Culinary Institute, Chef Julia brings fresh ideas to the restaurant where she changes the menu seasonally to keep up with culinary trends, including new dishes like the Organic Mushroom Flatbread appetizer, while keeping some long-time favorites such as the Roasted Elk Loin entre. The menu compliments the serenity and ambiance of the restaurant overlooking the Truckee River. The night of Nov. 1 should provide an opportunity for old timers to reminisce and for others, an opportunity to spend time with friends in the River Ranch's warm and friendly environment. The dining room will be closed for the night but the bar will be open and there will be some food and drinks. The River Ranch is located at the corner of Highway 89 and Alpine Meadows Road 3.5 miles from Tahoe City and 10 miles from Truckee. Call 530-583-4264 or visit www.riverranchlodge.com for more information.
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