South Lake Tahoe restaurant blends culture, family into its menu |

South Lake Tahoe restaurant blends culture, family into its menu

Jack Barnwell
Kai Crowe, co-owner of Chimayó Street Grill on Ski Run Boulevard, serves up some appetizer's during the soft opening of his restaurant on Friday, Nov. 27. Chimayó blends Mexican and American-Southern cooking into culinary delights.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |


What: Chimayó Street Grill

Where: 1142 Ski Run Blvd, South Lake Tahoe

When: Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: $10-$20

Info: (530) 600-3900;

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A new restaurant on Ski Run Boulevard next to Blue Angel Cafe is blending culture, food and family into its operations.

Chimayó Street Grill, which serves up Mexican-Southern U.S. fusion fare, opened its doors on Friday, Nov. 27, and immediately saw an explosion of service.

According to co-owner and general manager Kai Crowe, he and his fiancé, Susana Ornelas, opened the grill in South Lake Tahoe because they saw potential for this type of restaurant. It combines Mexican and Southern-style cuisine, from briskets to its pulled-pork relleno dish.

“We have a concept of authentic Mexican food combined with Southern barbecue, since my fiancé is Mexican,” Crowe said. “It’s a true fusion of the two culinary cultures.”

The interior is a colorful combination of a retro bistro with industrial design. Pipes are visible in the dining area, small lanterns help light the tables and the ambiance is appropriate for all ages.

A lot of family support went into the business as well, including a partnership with Crowe’s father, Alan Crowe, who smokes meats for the restaurant’s dishes.

“The one rule we have in the kitchen is that there are no rules, other than we will present the greatest food we can,” he said.

Kai Crowe said that Chimayó’s head chef, Adam Hinojosa, emphasizes fresh food to accompany a craft beer menu.

“More people are drinking craft beers, and they’re eating it with good food, not something that goes from the freezer to the fryer,” Crowe said.

Half of the beers and wines on the menu are made in El Dorado County, including a honey porter from Gold Hill Vineyard & Brewery in Placerville, California.


Crowe worked in restaurants throughout college, but later went to work in a financial position for eight years.

“I got to a point where I wanted to go back to being in a restaurant, but not as a bartender or server-level,” he said.

He added that South Lake Tahoe’s business atmosphere appears to support the venue.

“This area is particularly fond of family run restaurants,” Crowe said. “In the Bay Area, people are more favorable of chain restaurants like Chili’s.”

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