Comfortable cuisine: Tahoe’s 10 best California lakefront dining options | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Comfortable cuisine: Tahoe’s 10 best California lakefront dining options

Let's face it. There is dining — and then there is waterfront dining. Whether it's a glass of wine as the setting sun casts the lake in rosy hues, or a craft beer and a burger next to the babbling Truckee River, few experiences can match dining along the water at Lake Tahoe. Whether for a special occasion or just to grab a bite after a day hiking Tahoe's trails, enjoy the tasty fare and views of Tahoe's best waterfront restaurants. 1. CHRISTY HILL — best date night Located in the heart of downtown Tahoe City, Christy Hill offers modern American cuisine and one of the best views of the lake. The small, intimate restaurant sits 100 feet above the shoreline offering panoramic views from every table. The menu changes seasonally with seafood, meat and pasta dishes of fresh, regional ingredients and an expansive wine list. Open nightly at 5 p.m. Mains from $25-$36. Down by the water, The SandBar at Christy Hill offers lakeside libations and house-made picnic bites around cozy firepits. Open June through September. Check it out: 115 Grove St., Tahoe City, christyhill.com 2. THE BOATHOUSE — best over-the-water dining On Tahoe Beach Retreat's pier in South Lake Tahoe, The Boathouse offers a unique over-the-water dining experience with a quaint setting and magnificent lake views. The Boathouse has quickly become a locals' favorite as the best spot to watch the sun set behind towering Mount Tallac. Perched directly above the water atop a 1,000-foot pier, the restaurant serves up delectable continental cuisine and signature cocktails for lunch and dinner. Lunch highlights include baked brie, beet salad and fish tacos, while dinner features pan-seared scallops, Andouille stuffed pork chop and grilled lobster tail. Open daily in summer. Dinner mains from $17-$36. Check it out: 3411 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, tahoebeachretreat.com 3. RIVER RANCH — best river views Located at the base of Alpine Meadows Road with views of the Truckee River, River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant offers a casual outdoor patio by day and upscale romantic dining by night. Locals love the River Ranch's authentic, laid-back vibe, and the restaurant is a perfect pit stop for anyone floating the river, riding the adjacent bike path or just looking for a spot to enjoy a burger along the Truckee. The Ranch Bar & Grill serves signature cocktails on the River Ranch patio, including the Ranch Punch, a frozen blended drink of fruit juices and light and dark rum. New this summer, Ranch Smokehouse Selections include brisket, pulled pork and a smoked pork belly BLT. Patio menu items $3-$12. Check it out: 2285 River Road, Tahoe City, riverranchlodge.com 4. MOE'S ORIGINAL BBQ — best view on a budget Since it opened in downtown Tahoe City in 2014, Moe's Original BBQ has quickly become a locals' favorite for mouthwatering Southern-style barbecue, cold brews and expansive lake views. While most lakefront restaurants have a hefty price tag, Moe's Original BBQ serves up pulled pork, ribs, seafood, barbecue chicken and a smattering of delicious sides at prices that go down as smooth as their assorted IPAs and craft beers. Moe's offers outdoor seating, a bar and convenient "boat coolers" to go. In addition to delicious barbecue, Moe's regularly brings world-class bluegrass acts to Tahoe City. Open daily. Platters from $8-$16. Check it out: 120 Grove St., Tahoe City, moesoriginalbbq.com/lo/tahoecity 5. THE BEACON BAR & GRILL — best beachfront dining Located on the water's edge in South Lake Tahoe's Camp Richardson Historic Resort, The Beacon Bar & Grill is one of Lake Tahoe's most extraordinary lakefront restaurants. Boat or kayak right up to the restaurant and grab a bite with views of the water and Mount Tallac. Summer months bring live music Wednesday through Sunday and one of the best happy hours around. Menu favorites include pasta primavera, rib eye tacos, deep fried calamari and nightly fish specials, as well as a great beer list and cocktails including the popular and potent Rum Runner. Open daily. Dinner mains from $14-$39. Check it out: 1900 Jameson Beach Road, South Lake Tahoe, bbgwdc.com 6. GAR WOODS — best summer cocktail Since 1988, Gar Woods Grill & Pier has been one of North Lake Tahoe's premier waterfront dining destinations. Located in Carnelian Bay, Gar Woods features floor-to-ceiling windows, large deck and balconies with views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Menu highlights include hand-cut steaks and fresh Pacific seafood such as shrimp and lobster bisque, Hawaiian swordfish and seafood Tagliarini. Every Wednesday in summer, Gar Woods hosts Wet Woody Wednesday, where diners enjoy discounts on the restaurant's signature Wet Woody frozen cocktail. Dinner mains from $31-$45. Gar Woods' sister restaurant, Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe, also offers a upscale casual atmosphere with classic California cuisine. Check it out: 5000 North Lake Blvd., Carnelian Bay, garwoods.com 7. RIVER GRILL — best happy hour River Grill offers casually elegant dining on Tahoe City's 'other' waterfront with seasonal menus of fresh seafood, steaks and tasty appetizers. The restaurant sits on the banks of the Truckee River, just downstream from famous Fanny Bridge and the Lake Tahoe Dam, the lake's only outlet. In summer, diners take in the views and great food on the restaurant's spacious patio, where local musicians perform every night. Open daily. Dinner mains from $16-$36. Held daily from 5-6:30 p.m., River Grill's ever-popular happy hour has $4 draft beers, $5 house wines, $5 margaritas and delicious food. The best deal around is the juicy River Grill Angus Burger complete with Caesar salad and shoestring fries for $11, though 50 percent off lobster quesadillas and 25 percent off starters like crispy prawns and pork dumplings are a close runner up. Check it out: 55 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, rivergrilltahoe.com 8. SUNNYSIDE — best deck Part of a charming lodge with 23 recently remodeled rooms, Sunnyside offers one of Lake Tahoe largest lakefront decks and views to match. Diners arrive by boat, jet ski, paddleboard and bike to enjoy lunch at this Tahoe staple. The restaurant offers a full-service marina complete with boat valet, and the adjacent High Sierra Waterski School rents watercraft of all kinds for pre or post-lunch adventures on the lake. Lunch favorites include burgers, fish tacos and chicken sandwiches. Dine in Sunnyside's wood-paneled Lakeside Dining Room for well-prepared American favorites, or order off the Mountain Grill menu in the bar for lighter fare and lower prices. Open daily for lunch and dinner in summer. Dinner mains from $18-$35. Check it out: 1850 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, sunnysideresort.com 9. BRIDGETENDER — best local vibes A longtime locals' favorite, the Bridgetender is quickly becoming a hit with visitors too thanks to a laid-back vibe, friendly bartenders and one of the best burgers in town. In summer, the BT's tree-shaded patio by the Truckee River offers a perfect place to relax and enjoy a drink by the water. Favorite libations include cold beers, Moscow Mules and the signature frozen Bridge Bender. The Bridgetender serves up assorted pub fare for lunch and dinner, including fish and chips, barbecue, tacos and signature burgers with crisp waffle fries. On weekends, enjoy homestyle breakfast classics and the best Bloody Mary in the town. Arriving late at night? The Bridgetender serves food until 11 p.m., long after other town restaurants have closed their kitchens. Open daily. Mains from $7-$12. Check it out: 65 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, tahoebridgetender.com 10. WEST SHORE CAFÉ — best boat valet With its high ceilings, large bay windows and exquisite area rugs, dining at the West Shore Café can feel like sharing a meal at a friend's impeccably decorated lakefront estate. Dinner focuses on tasty, curated creations such as prosciutto-wrapped chicken roulade and pan-seared salmon accompanied by yams, broccolini and lambchetta, while the lighter lunch menu features sandwiches, salads and a burger. A broad wine list accentuates the menu's bold flavors, and bartenders mix up delicious muddled cocktails. In summer months, the West Shore Café seats diners on the outdoor deck and private pier where they dine amid stunning lake views. Open daily in summer. Dinner mains from $17-$39. Check it out: 160 West Lake Blvd., Homewood, westshorecafe.com Amelia Richmond is a North Lake Tahoe-based freelancer writer. Email her at amelia.s.richmond@gmail.com.

Drinking with dogs: Lake Tahoe bars that welcome pets

Summer is just around the corner, which means it's time to once again adventure on the lake and find new biking and hiking trails — and who's going to be there for it all? Your dog, which also deserves to join you for those post-exploration drinks. As the craft brew scene continues to boom, bars are popping up around the lake: Here are the spots you can count on to welcome your pet. Make sure your dog is on a leash before entering the following businesses — it's common courtesy and we don't want lost dogs (or any butt-sniffing). South Shore Two South Shore breweries allow dogs inside their taprooms — Sidellis Lake Tahoe and South Lake Brewing Company. Both establishments feature picnic-style tables that contribute to the family-friendly settings and encourage both community and the opportunity to meet new people. Play corn hole, settle in with board games and relax in the ambiance of two beer garden-type settings as your pooch makes new friends and doesn't get FOMO from being left in the car while you indulge. South Lake Tahoe also offers part-bar, part-restaurants where you can relax with your dog on an outdoor patio. Brother's Bar & Grill is a great spot for those who want to catch the game, grab a beer and spend quality time with their dogs. The patio features picnic tables, a fire pit and an outdoor projector — and you can enjoy it all with your furry friend by your side. McP's Taphouse, located in Stateline, has over 40 beers on tap (along with wine and spirits) and welcomes dogs in the outdoor courtyard. Enjoy people-watching in one of the busiest areas of South Shore with a cold one and your dog at your feet. Looking for less of a bar-type scene where you can take man's best friend? Many restaurants near Heavenly Village welcome dogs on their outdoor patios, and Revive Coffee & Wine, a coffee house-turned-wine bar (that also has a small variety of beer) also invites your animals to hang out in the outdoor area with corn hole, a slackline and more. North Shore One of the most well-known Tahoe breweries is found in Incline Village: Alibi Ale Works. This taproom opens its doors to patrons over the age of 21 — and their well-behaved dogs. Enjoy the establishment's rotating craft brews at the bar, an indoor table or outdoors and let your dog socialize in this community-centered taproom. All pups are allowed outside at Mellow Fellow, an all-ages restaurant and bar located in Truckee. The spot offers games, daily events and 40 on-tap brews, in addition to hard ciders, a selection of wines and both sandwiches and snacks. Bonus: If your dog is well-trained, it's welcome inside the taproom. Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. has two locations: a pub in Tahoe City and a taproom in Truckee. And dogs are welcome at both. The brewpub features a dog-friendly outdoor patio and serves up American dishes in an atmosphere that's fun for the whole family. The taproom allows well-trained dogs indoors and is arguably the best spot to find the widest selection of the company's drinks. Places to grab a beer with your dog, and that have a more restaurant-type feel, include Moe's Original Bar B Que (Tahoe City) and Austin's Restaurant (Incline Village). Moe's serves Alabama-style barbecue and has a dog-friendly patio complete with scenic views of the lake. At Austin's you'll find southern comfort food and a brand-new bar that features 10 beers on tap and more, in addition to an outdoor patio where your dog is welcome. Learn more about each joint on its respective website.

Comfortable cuisine: Tahoe’s 10 best California lakefront dining options

Let's face it. There is dining — and then there is waterfront dining. Whether it's a glass of wine as the setting sun casts the lake in rosy hues, or a craft beer and a burger next to the babbling Truckee River, few experiences can match dining along the water at Lake Tahoe. Whether for a special occasion or just to grab a bite after a day hiking Tahoe's trails, enjoy the tasty fare and views of Tahoe's best waterfront restaurants. 1. CHRISTY HILL — best date night Located in the heart of downtown Tahoe City, Christy Hill offers modern American cuisine and one of the best views of the lake. The small, intimate restaurant sits 100 feet above the shoreline offering panoramic views from every table. The menu changes seasonally with seafood, meat and pasta dishes of fresh, regional ingredients and an expansive wine list. Open nightly at 5 p.m. Mains from $25-$36. Down by the water, The SandBar at Christy Hill offers lakeside libations and house-made picnic bites around cozy firepits. Open June through September. Check it out: 115 Grove St., Tahoe City, christyhill.com 2. THE BOATHOUSE — best over-the-water dining On Tahoe Beach Retreat's pier in South Lake Tahoe, The Boathouse offers a unique over-the-water dining experience with a quaint setting and magnificent lake views. The Boathouse has quickly become a locals' favorite as the best spot to watch the sun set behind towering Mount Tallac. Perched directly above the water atop a 1,000-foot pier, the restaurant serves up delectable continental cuisine and signature cocktails for lunch and dinner. Lunch highlights include baked brie, beet salad and fish tacos, while dinner features pan-seared scallops, Andouille stuffed pork chops and grilled lobster tail. Open daily in summer. Dinner mains from $17-$36. Check it out: 3411 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, tahoebeachretreat.com 3. RIVER RANCH — best river views Located at the base of Alpine Meadows Road with views of the Truckee River, River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant offers a casual outdoor patio by day and upscale romantic dining by night. Locals love the River Ranch's authentic, laid-back vibe, and the restaurant is a perfect pit stop for anyone floating the river, riding the adjacent bike path or just looking for a spot to enjoy a burger along the Truckee. The Ranch Bar & Grill serves signature cocktails on the River Ranch patio, including the Ranch Punch, a frozen blended drink of fruit juices and light and dark rum. New this summer, Ranch Smokehouse Selections include brisket, pulled pork and a smoked pork belly BLT. Patio menu items $3-$12. Check it out: 2285 River Road, Tahoe City, riverranchlodge.com 4. MOE'S ORIGINAL BBQ — best view on a budget Since it opened in downtown Tahoe City in 2014, Moe's Original BBQ has quickly become a locals' favorite for mouthwatering Southern-style barbecue, cold brews and expansive lake views. While most lakefront restaurants have a hefty price tag, Moe's Original BBQ serves up pulled pork, ribs, seafood, barbecue chicken and a smattering of delicious sides at prices that go down as smooth as their assorted IPAs and craft beers. Moe's offers outdoor seating, a bar and convenient "boat coolers" to go. In addition to delicious barbecue, Moe's regularly brings world-class bluegrass acts to Tahoe City. Open daily. Platters from $8-$16. Check it out: 120 Grove St., Tahoe City, moesoriginalbbq.com/lo/tahoecity 5. THE BEACON BAR & GRILL — best beachfront dining Located on the water's edge in South Lake Tahoe's Camp Richardson Historic Resort, The Beacon Bar & Grill is one of Lake Tahoe's most extraordinary lakefront restaurants. Boat or kayak right up to the restaurant and grab a bite with views of the water and Mount Tallac. Summer months bring live music Wednesday through Sunday and one of the best happy hours around. Menu favorites include pasta primavera, rib eye tacos, deep fried calamari and nightly fish specials, as well as a great beer list and cocktails — including the popular and potent Rum Runner. Open daily. Dinner mains from $14-$39. Check it out: 1900 Jameson Beach Road, South Lake Tahoe, bbgwdc.com 6. GAR WOODS — best summer cocktail Since 1988, Gar Woods Grill & Pier has been one of North Lake Tahoe's premier waterfront dining destinations. Located in Carnelian Bay, Gar Woods features floor-to-ceiling windows, a large deck and balconies with views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Menu highlights include hand-cut steaks and fresh Pacific seafood such as shrimp and lobster bisque, Hawaiian swordfish and seafood Tagliarini. Every Wednesday in summer, Gar Woods hosts Wet Woody Wednesday, where diners enjoy discounts on the restaurant's signature Wet Woody frozen cocktail. Dinner mains from $31-$45. Gar Woods' sister restaurant, Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe, also offers a upscale casual atmosphere with classic California cuisine. Check it out: 5000 North Lake Blvd., Carnelian Bay, garwoods.com 7. RIVER GRILL — best happy hour River Grill offers casually elegant dining on Tahoe City's 'other' waterfront with seasonal menus of fresh seafood, steaks and tasty appetizers. The restaurant sits on the banks of the Truckee River, just downstream from famous Fanny Bridge and the Lake Tahoe Dam, the lake's only outlet. In summer, diners take in the views and great food on the restaurant's spacious patio, where local musicians perform every night. Open daily. Dinner mains from $16-$36. Held daily from 5-6:30 p.m., River Grill's ever-popular happy hour has $4 draft beers, $5 house wines, $5 margaritas and delicious food. The best deal around is the juicy River Grill Angus Burger complete with Caesar salad and shoestring fries for $11, though 50 percent off lobster quesadillas and 25 percent off starters like crispy prawns and pork dumplings are a close runner up. Check it out: 55 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, rivergrilltahoe.com 8. SUNNYSIDE — best deck Part of a charming lodge with 23 recently remodeled rooms, Sunnyside offers one of Lake Tahoe largest lakefront decks and views to match. Diners arrive by boat, jet ski, paddleboard and bike to enjoy lunch at this Tahoe staple. The restaurant offers a full-service marina complete with boat valet, and the adjacent High Sierra Waterski School rents watercraft of all kinds for pre or post-lunch adventures on the lake. Lunch favorites include burgers, fish tacos and chicken sandwiches. Dine in Sunnyside's wood-paneled Lakeside Dining Room for well-prepared American favorites, or order off the Mountain Grill menu in the bar for lighter fare and lower prices. Open daily for lunch and dinner in summer. Dinner mains from $18-$35. Check it out: 1850 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, sunnysideresort.com 9. BRIDGETENDER — best local vibes A longtime locals' favorite, the Bridgetender is quickly becoming a hit with visitors too thanks to a laid-back vibe, friendly bartenders and one of the best burgers in town. In summer, the BT's tree-shaded patio by the Truckee River offers a perfect place to relax and enjoy a drink by the water. Favorite libations include cold beers, Moscow Mules and the signature frozen Bridge Bender. The Bridgetender serves up assorted pub fare for lunch and dinner, including fish and chips, barbecue, tacos and signature burgers with crisp waffle fries. On weekends, enjoy homestyle breakfast classics and the best Bloody Mary in the town. Arriving late at night? The Bridgetender serves food until 11 p.m., long after other town restaurants have closed their kitchens. Open daily. Mains from $7-$12. Check it out: 65 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, tahoebridgetender.com 10. WEST SHORE CAFÉ — best boat valet With its high ceilings, large bay windows and exquisite area rugs, dining at the West Shore Café can feel like sharing a meal at a friend's impeccably decorated lakefront estate. Dinner focuses on tasty, curated creations such as prosciutto-wrapped chicken roulade and pan-seared salmon accompanied by yams, broccolini and lambchetta, while the lighter lunch menu features sandwiches, salads and a burger. A broad wine list accentuates the menu's bold flavors, and bartenders mix up delicious muddled cocktails. In summer months, the West Shore Café seats diners on the outdoor deck and private pier where they dine amid stunning lake views. Open daily in summer. Dinner mains from $17-$39. Check it out: 160 West Lake Blvd., Homewood, westshorecafe.com Amelia Richmond is a North Lake Tahoe-based freelancer writer. Email her at amelia.s.richmond@gmail.com.

Motel plans conversion to restaurant, bar, gym and spa

South Lake Tahoe may have a new restaurant, bar, gym and spa — along with one less old motel — by spring 2015. Plans are currently in place to convert the 27-unit Highland Inn, located at 3979 Lake Tahoe Blvd, into a 3,851-square-foot restaurant and bar, a 3,352-square-foot spa and a 1,783-square-foot gym. The plan has already been approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said owner Moe Rahmani, and the design review and permit for the project was approved by city planning commissioners Thursday. "I'm very excited about this project," Rahmani said Friday. "I think it's going to look really sharp and be good for the city. There's going to be one less old motel in this town." Construction, expected to begin after Labor Day and end about eight months later, will involve the replacement of existing fences, the replacement of lighting, and the installation of sidewalks, landscaping and best management practices. The structure itself will remain the same shape, but the facade and interior of the building will be completely redone, Rahmani said. Exterior modifications will include new stone and wood siding. "It's going to be hot," he said. At this time, no specific businesses have signed on to occupy the proposed space, but Rahmani said there were "a couple interested" parties. Mountain Mike's Tees and Skis, an existing business that has been operating on the southeast side of the inn for about 16 years, will stay on the property. Rahmani said his hope is that the conversion attracts more tourists and locals to the property. At the city planning commission meeting, a couple commissioners expressed their support for the plan. Commissioner Tamara Wallace was one of them. "I think this is fabulous," Wallace said. "I think a high tide rises all ships and any new projects down there are great." Vice chairwoman Judy Brown said she was happy to see the development project come before the planning commission. "We haven't been approving that much lately in terms of getting things spruced up down there that are immediate plans. We've been approving a lot of things down the road, so it's exciting to me," she said.

Toast Tahoe Bar & Restaurant

Toast Tahoe is a family owned establishment that offers a delicious variety of cuisines for all in a very comfortable atmosphere! Our bar area boasts 6 TV's including a lounge area with comfy couches, a quiet and intimate dining area and doggie-friendly outside patio with pyramid heaters! With a culinary background in Italian and French, our executive chef's concept is Japanese Fusion. A delicious blend of Italian and French meets the Pacific Rim with a kick of Asian spices! It definitely makes Toast Tahoe unique & one of a kind. We smoke our Wings and Tri-Tip in-house and make our own pizza dough from scratch! For lunch enjoy our mouth-watering Kobe Beef Burgers, or try a Toast Tahoe exclusive with our Sushi Burrito. You won't find anything like it in South Lake! We also have gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian options available too! Top notch mixology skills are showcased by our professionally trained bartenders. We offer 55 bottles of wine and rare selection of Japanese Sake to pair with our chef's cuisines. Grab a sake cocktail, Toast Tahoe is one of the few places you can get them around the lake. And don't miss our Happy Hour from 3pm to 6pm every day featuring 50% off ALL bar items!! "One can't think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn't dined well." ~ Virginia Woolf

Six new Tahoe-Truckee restaurants not to miss this summer

Editor's note: This story first appeared in 2015 summer edition of Tahoe Magazine, a product of the Sierra Sun, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe Action. The magazine is available now on newsstands throughout the greater Reno-Truckee-Tahoe region, so be sure to pick up a copy for your go-to guide to enjoying summer at America's greatest playground. The thrilling adventure and mellow living of Lake Tahoe attracts people of passion, creativity and drive, and the region's prospering restaurant industry reflects the unique stories of old and new settlers alike. Our nationally and internationally trained chefs, skilled barmen and fervent proprietors draw visitors off the mountain and out of the waters to indulge in distinctive atmosphere and accomplished gastronomy. Of course, Tahoe and Truckee boast landmark establishments that will continue to lure their patrons back time and time again, only to send them home with another memorable culinary experience. In fact, many of the people who help make these landmarks great have gone on to open the restaurants on this list of nearly new dining spots, while still others are brand new, at least to us. All of them are worth checking out as you eat your way from south to north around the lake and down the river. Restaurant: Azul Latin Kitchen Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, in Heavenly Village Phone: 530-541-2985 Visit South Lake Tahoe often and you've probably already indulged in one of Chef Mark Vaccaro's innovative culinary creations at Base Camp Pizza Co. If not, add that to your list. The head chef and part owner returned from a 20-month world tour with a sharpened skill set and plenty of inspiration, which he promptly poured into both restaurants with bold experiments of international flavors. Azul Latin Kitchen recreates the traditional fares of Mexico, Central and South America into a unique gastronomical experience by utilizing light and refreshing ingredients and the techniques of many cultures. Before daybreak, fresh homemade sauces, salsas and meats are already cooking, and the results are well worth the effort. A nacho mole thickened with plantains, beef cooked in banana leaves and a Malaysian-Thai chicken curry reduction all play together in an impossibly perfect fusion of Asian and Latin-American cuisine. "During colonization, a lot of the world's best spices, like cumin and coriander, were adopted and shared by cultures all over, except by us," says Mark. He's seeing to it that dishes like the Lomo Saltado Bowl and the Sonoma Goat Cheese and Sweet Potato Flauta are putting an end to that nonsense. Settle into a comfy booth to enjoy the funky atmosphere with a fresh juice craft cocktail, and feast on imaginative tacos and tantalizing bowls. —– Restaurant: Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, in Heavenly Village Phone: 530-542-1460 Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery is Alex Cox's relatively recent venture following the success of Squaw's Bistro 22. Situated beneath the gondola line with stunning views of the mountains, Gunbarrel's large outdoor patio hosts live music and a hip social vibe. As the temperatures dip down, gather around big fire pits with a cayenne-sugar rimmed Whiskylicious Martini or a hot signature drink and shared plates. The Old West-inspired barroom is lined with long, wooden tables knotted with character, rusted metal accents and a mural nodding to that bygone era. While the vibe is Wild West, the food is New American and there's something for everyone. Start with the Crispy Pork Belly appetizer with Brussels sprouts and pink lady applesauce, the Wild Boar Chili or the Signature Nachos. Meat eaters love the Durham Ranch Bison Burger and the juicy free-range PBR Beer Can Chicken, with toasted faro, mushrooms and roasted chicken jus. For a decadent vegetarian comfort dish, try the Brie Grilled Cheese with arugula, tomato, caramelized onion and balsamic glaze on sourdough bread with house-seasoned chips. —– Restaurant: Koi Sushi Location: 874 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village, in Christmas Tree Village Phone: 775-298-2091 Barely a beat passed before Koi Sushi swept in where Yoshimo Sushi left off. Located in the same space in Christmas Tree Village, Koi plates up decadent rolls, udon noodle bowls, teriyaki plates, salads and soups. Koi is owned by a quiet couple who's looking more to serve than be celebrated, and you can find them working both the front of the house and the sushi line. While Koi has lunch specials and cooked entrees, it's their $29 all you can eat that's getting traction. Devour appetizers like the briney and sweet baked mussels, gyoza, edamame and giant tempura veggies before moving on to a page full of nigiri, maki and cooked and vegetarian rolls heaping with crab and wrapped up with fresh mango. Try the Carlos, High Roller and Mona Lisa Rolls while sipping sake out of unique clay cups. Reserve a table if you have a big group because Koi's busy on weekends and peak seasons. Even with the eager patrons and loud pop music, though, Koi is thoughtfully laid out with bamboo planters, creating intimacy between each of the private tables. The atmosphere is nothing if not fun, with beautiful, colored lanterns, cherry blossoms and painted flags. —– Restaurant: Moe's Original BBQ Location: 120 Grove Street, Tahoe City, above Tahoe City Marina Phone: 530-583-4227 A revival of southern soul food with good music and a laid-back atmosphere, Moe's has become an instant favorite. Eric Pilcher, Josh Wallick and Luke Dannals opened the first Moe's waterfront restaurant (there are 30 other "friendchise" locations) with a second-floor venue that rocks the music scene and is already nearly booked for summer private events. Ski bums chasing the dream, these humble gentlemen can be found on the line cooking and having fun. Josh says, "Everything is made with our hands fresh every day, and we love doing it." And you'll love eating it. Tuscaloosa, Alabama-style roasting brings out the meat's natural flavor, which they merely drizzle with homemade sauces and no apologies. "We think they're good just like that, no need to overdo the sauce," says Josh. "We want you to taste the meat." When the meat is so perfectly tender, it is easy to see why. The ribs will make your eyes roll back, as will the pulled pork — make sure to get it 'Bama Style. For the seafood lover, try the Gulf Coast-inspired blackened mahi-mahi and the Shrimp Mo-Boy. With changing sides like collard greens, jambalaya, succotash and more, vegetarians love the "Sides Platter" with three sides, plus a giant slice of jalapeno corn bread. —– Restaurant: Pizza Bar Location: 10164 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, in Brickelltown district Phone: 530-550-8056 Pizza Bar, the little sister of Marg's Taco Bistro, is Big Eats Restaurant Group's second recent addition to the Truckee dining scene. Pizza Bar serves up Neapolitan-style pizza that blends authentic Italian and fresh local ingredients to create a California twist on Old Country pie. The magic happens in an open kitchen where flour is kneaded by a two-armed dough mixer and hand stretched to order. Before tossing it into the stone oven, it's slathered with basil pesto, white sauce or marinara and topped with everything from in-house braised pork to butternut squash to make fresh and delicious, if not always expected, pizza pies. "The menu is designed to be shared. Whereas one hungry person can eat a whole pie and probably some garlic knots, a group or a couple can come in and enjoy a traditional three-course meal," says Doug Caveney, general manager and part owner. To pair with your meal, Pizza Bar offers 12 seasonal draft wines, 16 beer taps and craft cocktails with house-made simple syrups and purees, as well as in-house, barrel-aged Jack Daniels. Eat leisurely in the contemporary casual interior or out on the large patio for great people watching. —– Restaurant: Truckee Tavern and Grill Location: 10118 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, in historic downtown Phone: 530-587-3766 In the center of historic downtown, Truckee Tavern and Grill was much anticipated. The humble gentlemen behind its doors are some longtime local favorites: co-owners Ryan Dierks and Chris St. Martin, and Executive Chef Donavon Webb. All three worked together at beloved Cottonwood and have moved on to build, by hand, their dream restaurant. Dimly lit, the dark wood, copper tables and dainty flower vases put you in the mood to be present, speak slowly and sip decadently crafted cocktails. In honor of Truckee's prohibition days, "when the hillsides were painted with distillery fires," as Chris poetically promotes, the spirits list centers on whiskey and gin. Using fresh herbs and juices, Ryan artfully concocts libations with names of 1920s and '30s movies and their stars and serves them in gorgeous glassware. The menu focuses on high-quality meats simply prepared on a custom wood-fire grill. Plated in large portions, the meats, well-executed sides and appetizing starters inspire patrons to share and be social. Start with the Charcuterie plate and the incomparable Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds, sliced apples, walnuts and balsamic vinegar. For mains, the organic roasted chicken is divine, and, of course, try the 16 oz. rib eye. Vegetarians aren't left wanting with fresh-made linguini and seasonal vegetables.

Down home grubbin’ at Tahoe City’s Moe’s Original BBQ

Nearly every day at Lake Tahoe you go big, and afterwards you are fiending hard to grub. You want something enormous to stuff into your ravenous, dirty, sunburned face. You earned it. Lake view? Probably not in this state of grunge and sweat. The sideways glances from ladies and gents sipping classy sunset cocktails wouldn't stop you, but maybe the tab would. No, lakefront dining you generally save for the peak of wallet-fattening season or entertaining visitors. You certainly don't waltz in with bleeding elbows and disheveled pony tails. You're all set to get ears deep into your favorite burrito when someone mentions barbecue, a frosty brew and a deck your dog can sprawl on, mouth-open for droppings. Tahoe City's Moe's Original Barbecue fulfills your every post-getting-after-it afternoon need and then some, all with lake views. The owners of Moe's (Eric Pilcher, Josh Wallick and Luke Dannals) relocated from Vail, Colo., to open their own restaurant of the "friendchise" they'd been working in for years. In June 2014 they opened their deck doors to the lake, started booking up the second-floor venue for music and events and got right back on the cook line. Three good ol' boys from Alabama opened the first Moe's out of a trailer in Vail in 2002. Their passions for barbecue, music, the mountains and whiskey have inspired more than 30 locations, all owned and ran by friends. Each location is slightly different, adapting to residents' appetites and the personalities of each amazing character that owns them. But from founders to dish pit, love of music and good Southern soul food runs true. Salivating upon arrival, you parade past white-aproned cooks, rotating slabs of pork shoulder and house sauces warmed and wafting. Check in with changing specials and sides that keep their local patrons coming back often. "Everything is made with our hands fresh every day, and we love doing it," co-owner and kitchen manager Josh said proudly. The owners are good guys and hard workers. Josh cooks nearly every day, and Eric is on the line about five days a week. When he isn't, he crunches numbers and hassles his suppliers for the tastiest proteins and veggies. He has to hassle. A big part of what makes Moe's chow so delectable is the quality of the meats. Tuscaloosa-style, over fruit wood, Moe's roasts its meats until perfectly tender and highlights their natural flavors. They don't drown the dishes in sauce, either. Two homemade sauces are drizzled and let customers know "we think they're good just like that, no need to overdo it." Down-home grub, made fresh daily with the techniques and knowledge of generations makes Moe's special. Try the ribs and pulled pork, both roasted to tender perfection. Do it right and order your sandwiches 'Bama Style with white sauce, cole slaw (with a vinegar base) and pickles. The blackened Mahi-Mahi with a house Cajun blend is prepared just like on the Alabama Gulf Coast in Mobile, and the giant portion is moist and spicy. Eric's favorite is the Fried Jumbo Shrimp Mo-Boy with slaw, pickles and tartar sauce. The "Sides Platter" (three sides plus a massive slice of jalapeno corn bread) refuels hungry vegetarians with everything from collard greens, mac'n cheese and succotash to crunchy and steamy hush puppies. Start it all with smoked wings, wash it down with sweet tea and top it off with the dessert of the day. And if you find yourself next to owners or employees, chat 'em up — they're a good time. Ashley A. Cooper is a freelance writer residing in Truckee. She can be reached at aacooper18@gmail.com.

Work under way on restaurant-bar

Things are shaping up downstairs in the Cecil’s Fountain Plaza near Stateline. Construction is now in full swing for the restaurant and bar, and perhaps a nightclub, planned on the basement level. The name is as much of a work in progress as the 8,500-square-foot site. Russell Penn, who will run the restaurant along with Cecil’s Market upstairs, refers to the site as Cecil’s Kitchen, but that name could change by June for the planned opening. “Our thought is, it’s a transition of food and entertainment,” he said, thumbing through the renderings as the plumbing contractor worked on pipes. Concrete is expected to be poured this week. Penn has his hands full. He also runs The Brewery at Lake Tahoe while weaving the up-and-coming restaurant through the maze of permits. The only one pending now is an application for a cabaret license through the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. A stage to be divided by a long curtain may be set out from the structure in an octagon-shaped area, where showcase acts could entertain up to 270 diners and others. Even curious types walking by may peek in through the staircase windows. “We’ll have a venue to provide entertainment hopefully,” he said. The architecture represents an industrial look – a different appearance for the South Shore. The floors may present a mix of tile and concrete. “What you see is what you get,” he said. Penn expects mainly pedestrians from the Marriott complex, Embassy Suites and the Stateline casino corridor. The industrial theme carries over into the kitchen setup, which made for a few challenges getting the large equipment down the plaza stairs. The idea is that meals will be made for the Cecil’s Market. As one in about 70 employees to join the establishment, Penn hired Clark Taylor two months ago to run the restaurant as the food and beverage manager. With the restaurant, market and The Brewery, Taylor will oversee 150 employees. On Monday, he perused an equipment catalog. “I’m spending money,” he said, listing items ranging from glasses to trays. Clark, who’s logged 36 years in the food and beverage business, is excited by the prospect of cooking with infrared ovens that can cook food at 1,700 degrees. “It will cook a steak in a minute and a half,” he said. The kitchen is due to also serve up seafood, pizza, pasta and rotisserie chicken. The restaurant marks the near-completion of another end of redevelopment for the city west of Stateline, which is owned by John and Camilla Jovicich of Gardnerville. They also lease space to Body Essentials, 1000 Bathing Suits, North Face and Alpine Clothing. The latter shop, which also sports its original location at the Village Center where the Crescent V Shopping Center once stood, has at least quadrupled its size. Store Manager Leandra Salmon has enjoyed the space for breathing room and the location. “It’s going great in here. I loved how it turned out,” she said, figuring the shopping market represents an even split between casino customers and Marriott complex guests. As the last of the finishing touches, the plaza fountain is due to be completed by the Fourth of July holiday. The fountain will feature cascading water out in front next to Highway 50. “The introduction of water completes the wonderful sense we’re trying to accomplish at the plaza,” said attorney Lew Feldman, who represents the complex developing partners. The Cecil’s Fountain Plaza is anchored by the historic general store formerly situated where Quizno’s Subs now sits. The store was once a mainstay for Tahoe travelers and locals of 60 years ago. -Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

Maurice Philias ‘Moe’ Langis

Memorial services will take place Sunday for Maurice Philias “Moe” Langis, who died Aug. 6, 2007, in Camino, Calif. Moe was born Dec. 13, 1944, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He was a 20-year resident of South Lake Tahoe, where he started his underground excavation company, Integrity Construction, in 1973. He moved the business to Pollock Pines, Calif., around 1989, changing the name to Backhoe Moe. He loved socializing and being around friends and was always ready to go dancing. His family and friends will remember Moe and hope he has found peace and happiness within. He is survived by sons, Ryan Langis of Roseville, Calif., Shawn Langis of Reno, Nev.; and Brad Langis of Placerville, Calif.; and five beautiful grandchildren. Memorial services will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church of Pollock Pines, 6361 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Sexual texts sent to boy, camp cabin leader arrested

A Sonora, Calif., resident was arrested Monday on suspicion of sending sexual messages to a 14-year-old Lake Tahoe boy, who the man had met at a summer camp. Brandon Moe, 22, had allegedly sent the teenager sexual text and Facebook messages after the boy had returned home from a camp in Tuolumne County, authorities said. The two had met at the camp, where Moe served as a staff member and the boy's cabin leader. They continued to communicate after the boy came home, but nothing was reported until the child's mother detected that the messages had "changed from innocent to inappropriate and sexual," according to a press release from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. Once the mother contacted the sheriff's office, patrol deputies out of the South Lake Tahoe station conducted an investigation. A warrant for Moe's arrest was issued Monday. The warrant alleges that Moe violated a law that prohibits the distribution or exhibition of lewd material to a minor. He was taken into custody and booked in the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe. Bail was set for $1 million. "Due to the facts of this case, and the employment of the suspect as a cabin leader at an overnight youth camp, the decision was made to dispatch El Dorado County Deputy Sheriffs to respond without delay to Sonora, Tuolumne County, join with Tuolumne County Deputies, and serve both the arrest warrant and search warrant," according to the EDSO. "With the assistance of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office this was accomplished by late afternoon on Aug. 11." Authorities said Moe was still in jail as of about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.