A fresh face for old South Lake Tahoe landmark
Erik, 37, and Melodie, 41, Ulman have put a fresh face on an old South Lake Tahoe landmark.
The two restaurateurs, who have worked for other restaurants around town and as Sierra-at-Tahoe snowboard instruction managers, opened Freshies in December on U.S. Highway 50 next to the Bank of America where the Deck Cafe used to be.
Since then, the couple has been amazed by the success of the lunch and dinner hotspot, known for its fresh and organic cuisine and its Hawaiian atmosphere.
“I had an idea people would be receptive to it, but I didn’t believe it would be this good,” Erik said, cutting fish filets in the kitchen and helping to prepare dishes for the 32 customers sitting in the new restaurant for lunch.
From the minute a customer walks through the door, the environment transports the visitor to the Islands.
The Ulmans, who share an infinity for Hawaii, have been hanging oil paintings created by a Maui artist they met while on the island and discovered the artist is originally from Lake Tahoe. The paintings are joined on the walls by surfboards.
Along with wooden parrots that adorn the giant ferns fanning the counter area, the artist also created the images on the placements used on the tables.
Erik thinks of his 16-hour-a-day restaurant gig as “painting with flavors.”
“I love what I do,” he said, also admitting it’s tough to work on good snowboarding days.
Erik has worked as a chef at Fresh Ketch and Evans American Gourmet Cafe, while Melodie is known around town for her service at Dixon’s Restaurant & Brewery.
When the Ulmans aren’t running their restaurant and snowboarding, they’re spending time with their two dogs, two cats and 15 fish. The latter they don’t serve up to their customers, unlike the Ono that makes the menu.
What they do serve ranges from a lineup of salads, pasta made fresh daily and fish tacos for lunch to dinner’s assortment of organic filet mignon, tofu scampi and cioppino, a San Francisco-style seafood stew.
Children have their own menus, which test their knowledge of Hawaiian culture.
For the adult crowd, Hawaiian Happy Hour features eight draft beers and ten wines.
For more information, call 530-542-3630.
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