Ten Crows BBQ restaurant in South Lake Tahoe under new ownership | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ten Crows BBQ restaurant in South Lake Tahoe under new ownership

Claire Cudahy | ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

In February Ten Crows BBQ opened up near Heavenly Village, and it was a hit. But over the course of just a few months, the restaurant's food began to decline and so did the service.

Now the BBQ joint, formerly owned by the connected Hotel Becket, is under new ownership — and things are looking up.

"Hotels are great at running hotels and typically not that great at running restaurants. We're great at running restaurants and would probably be terrible at running a hotel," said Ted Kennedy, part of the restaurant group behind Base Camp Pizza, Azul Latin Kitchen and California Burger Company, to name a few.

Kennedy's group took over in October, and by that time the original chef who crafted the Alabama BBQ menu was gone.

"We have some new, very talented guys, Christian Novak and Tom Ward," said Kennedy. "They've done a fantastic job. They really went to school on smokers. It's about getting great meats, marinating them well and cooking them really slow and low."

While many of the BBQ staples from the previous menu are the same — like pulled pork, ribs, brisket and sweet tea fried chicken — the chefs are experimenting with new items in the smoker, like beets and salmon.

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"Our idea was to continue all the key things you think of when you think of BBQ and to really nail those, but then branch out to some of the items that would appeal to the cooler California crowd," said Kennedy, who was adamant about getting fried okra — served with a sweet chili sauce — on the menu.

The restaurant's interior also got a fresh new look.

"One of the first things we did was try and warm it up in here. It was really cafeteria-like," said Kennedy.

Carpeting, barn-wood accents, chalkboards and a stage for live music every night have transformed the atmosphere of the restaurant.

"We just wanted to create a space where we can welcome people in and serve up great food," said Kennedy.