Searching for sandwiches at Tahoe |

Searching for sandwiches at Tahoe

It’s mid-day and you’ve just hit the summit of Mount Tallac. Sure, you brought along plenty of water for the trip, but the handful of snacks you carried along aren’t filling that hunger void that is rumbling in your stomach. Wouldn’t it be nice to kick back and grab a bite to eat with one of the greatest views in the world?

Enter the sandwich – which just might be the perfect Tahoe food. Let me explain.

There are plenty of amazing choices for food and beverage around the entire basin and Truckee. But, if you think about what the Lake Tahoe region is famous for, it’s recreation. With so many options, you could easily be out and about enjoying any of them when you get that hankering for a bite to eat.

A steak or a nice crisp salad with a seared chicken breast would be great. The only problem is that they probably aren’t the most conducive to recreational-based sustenance. Sandwiches, on the other hand, pack well, stay fresh, and all you need to enjoy them are your hands (well, sometimes a napkin).

Whether you’re out on the lake, hiking in the backcountry, or biking any one of the amazing trails, the sandwich is your easiest (and probably most tasty) portable provision.

Depending on your adventure starting point, we’ve hustled up some great sandwich slinging options. But, these aren’t just merely places you can go grab a sandwich – you could get one at nearly every gas station if you wanted. These places pay special attention to all of the sandwiches on their menu. They are carefully crafted, use the freshest of ingredients, and are usually favorites of locals.

Tahoe Central Market (Kings Beach)

Located directly across the street from the beach, this market not only has great sandwich options, but a fantastic juice bar as well. Whether it’s juice, smoothies, or tonics, they are applying their fresh, organic produce, and finest ingredient approach they take with their sandwiches to their juices as well. But, we’re not here to highlight the juices.

Sourcing local produce and teaming with Truckee Sourdough Company for their bread, this is the epitome of farm to table. All sandwiches are made to order with love, many by the same people who have been working here since they opened. With a passion for serving the local community, the market has become a local’s favorite, committing to fresh ingredients and great service.

While you can customize any sandwich, their favorites include…

The Controlled Burn: smoked turkey, chipotle mayo, pepper jack cheese, bomb spicy slaw, served on jalapeno cheddar bread. You can go full wildfire and add Sriracha, but this sandwich doesn’t lack in flavor. Crispy and creamy, every bite sings a deliciously different note.

The Dang Good: roasted chicken, bacon, jalapeno jack, toasted with chipotle mayo, sprouts, avocado, and tomato on Dutch crunch roll. Bacon and chicken are best friends, so everything else is just along for the ride – but, oh what a delicious ride it is. Lots of great textures and the bread simply seals the deal.

Or, if wraps are more your choice, the Market Veggie Wrap (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, avocado, spinach, sprouts, oil and vinegar, and Vermont cheddar) is a great option if you want to 86 the bread.

Learn more:

Sunshine Deli (Incline Village)

A cozy joint tucked in the heart of Incline Village, this place not only rocks their sandwich selection, but they are offering a full serving of baked goods that will pair with all of their coffee (made by Kings Road) offerings. Plan your visit here carefully because quite often the line is out the door.

Sunshine Deli’s Malaga Chorizo Sandwich.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Baked goods and sandwiches are just the tip of the iceberg of what Sunshine Deli offers. But, I want to focus this on their “tour-de-force” signature sandwich: the Malaga chorizo sandwich.

Malaga is a city in the south of Spain, a country famous for their chorizo. After visiting the Costa del Soul back in the day, I can vouch that the chorizo in this sandwich is bona fide baller chorizo.

The sandwich itself is quite simple, but don’t let that tell this story. The basic breakdown is a sourdough roll, topped with roasted bell peppers and the chorizo links. If they ask you to add cheese, just say yes – don’t overthink it.

The peppers are sweet and bring a nice balance to the heat of the chorizo, which has a great crust and smokiness. The cheese is so gooey it has those melted strands that stretch out with each bite.

Yes, I could eat this sandwich every day and have no problem, although my wife probably wouldn’t recommend it. Either way, whether it’s this sandwich or another, you will not be disappointed.

Learn more:

Eastside Deli (Truckee)

Sometimes, to find those special places you have to travel a bit off the beaten path. Case in point, Eastside Deli, which of all places, is located right smack dab in the middle of an RV park.

If you don’t mind a little extra effort to seek this one out, the payoff will be well worth it – trust me. They are striving to be one of the best little hole in the walls in the Sierra – and the best part: they don’t want you to leave hungry.

If it’s hot, they want it dripping, if cold they want it stacked high, so whatever your option here, you can expect it to be loaded. All of their boss sauces are made from scratch and while they are constantly thinking up new sandwich specials, their favorites are always hanging around.

Of their cold sandwiches, the Angler (turkey, bacon, cheddar, mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato, and balsamic) and the Aloha Love (turkey, ham, bacon, pepper jack, onion, lettuce, tomato, and sweet and spicy aloha sauce) are two of the favorites.

All sandwiches are served on Truckee Sourdough and made with Boar’s Head meats. If you can’t wait to dive into it after ordering (don’t worry, I get it), in the summer they have an outdoor seating area.

Of their hot sandwiches, my recommendation is the Pastraminis. The name (a blend of pastrami and the owner’s last name) might be hard to say, but it’s definitely not hard to mow down.

The pastrami is griddled with onions, giving it a great texture and deep flavor, and served on rye with melted provolone, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, then slathered with their homemade Russian dressing and chipotle mayo.

Learn more:

Tahoma Market and Deli (Tahoma)

If we’re going to be talking about sandwich places around the basin, we absolutely have to have Tahoma Market and Deli in the conversation. The original Tahoma market opened up back in 1943, and while it had a recent facelift (some may know it as the old PDQ), it’s still serving up the grub that’s been a staple of Tahoe for decades.

Tahoma Market sandwich with pesto bread.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Every night, they are baking their own bread (jalapeno cheddar is by far their most popular), and if you have an appetite, or would like to feed a small family, you can go with their 12-inch loaf. By loaf, yeah, I mean loaf. This sandwich is bigger than a football and when I say it could feed a small family, you could cut it into quarters and do just that. You might need a decent-sized backpack if you’re going to be hiking, but when you get to where you’re going, lunch will be served.

And, just because they have behemoth-sized bread, doesn’t mean they’re skimping on ingredients. All the ingredients are top quality, piled high, and everything is made to order.

During the summer they can crank out 300 to 350 sandwiches a day. Lines out the door are not uncommon, and if you have time to sit there and eat, you have one of the best views from a deli around the entire lake.

Learn more:

Tahoe Bagel Company (South Lake Tahoe)

Owned by two brothers who grew up with a family of bakers on the east coast, Tahoe Bagel Company is not only dishing out favorites for breakfast, it’s delivering creative sandwiches served on their morning staples for lunch.

Are you the type of person where bagels are a way of life? Then this is your place. Bagels are made fresh everyday in flavors like spinach Asiago, spinach everything, jalapeno cheddar, and garlic and onion, you have every opportunity to build your favorite concoction.

Tahoe Bagel Company’s Back 2 Life sandwich.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

If it has never dawned on you to take bagel sandwiches with you out on the trails or on the lake, this is going to seem like a revelation – especially when you bite into some of their favorites.

The Back 2 Life is a must have in the morning – especially if the night before was a little much. A classic stack of sausage and bacon paired with freshly scrambled eggs, cheese, hash browns, and hot sauce (served best with the jalapeno cheddar). Even if the night wasn’t crazy, this eats just as well mid-day.

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional lunch, the Reubenowitz might be for you. Almost a half-pound of corned beef, pastrami and turkey are draped in a melted blanket of Swiss cheese. House made coleslaw and Russian dressing round out the rest of the inside, served on their Jewish rye bread.

Their bagels and sandwiches have become so popular in south lake, look for their new location popping up this summer – as if you needed another reason for giving them a try.

Learn more:

Tahoe Tavern & Grill (Stateline)

Possibly the black sheep compared to other places I have mentioned, but that’s only because this is the only truly sit down full service restaurant on the list. Don’t worry. This doesn’t compromise the premise of being able to take sandwiches on the go for your latest Tahoe adventure – they can accommodate.

Tahoe Tavern’s Cuban sandwich.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

But, the reason they are on this list is due to the time and effort they are putting into their sandwich game. Everything at Tahoe Tavern is elevated.

Whether it’s the marinating in buttermilk for their fried chicken sandwich, custom making their burger blend (brisket, short rib, and chuck), or making their own mustard for their Cuban sandwich.

Speaking of their Cuban, I have to dedicate time to talk about it, because it might very well be the best one I’ve had. Luscious pulled pork, juicy ham steak, and nutty aged Swiss are the main components. Scratch made pickles and the previously mentioned mustard is what sends this sandwich to another stratosphere.

We also have to mention their take on the po’boy. Crispy shrimp, bacon, tomato, and pea shoots shoved inside a buttery croissant with creole remoulade – yes, it’s as every bit as decadent as it sounds. Maybe not the best option to wrap with you and eat for later, but we still have to mention.

Learn more:

There you have it – a few suggestions for tasty travelers for any of your Tahoe adventures. However, if you are going to be enjoying these out in Mother Nature, a reminder to pack everything back with you. Being a steward of Tahoe is one of the most important things you can do in your time around the basin. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the views.

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