Alpina Coffee Cafe gets new owner |

Alpina Coffee Cafe gets new owner

Jack Barnwell
Missy Hullander purchased Alpina Coffee Cafe in September. A Sacramento pastry chef, Hullander bought the cafe in part to showcase her own dishes.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Editor’s note: Send business and development tips to

Change is afoot in South Lake Tahoe’s business community, including new ownerships, continued development and policy changes:


Missy Hullander is settling into her role as the new owner of Alpina Coffee Cafe on Emerald Bay Road.

A career pastry chef and former Sacramento resident, Hullander said she “wanted a place with character, not just something in a strip mall.”

Hullander bought Alpina Coffee in September from father/son team Ed and Kevin Krumnei.

She initially planned to stay in Sacramento, but a trip to South Lake Tahoe sold her on the location.

“I love everything about the building and its atmosphere,” Hullander said. “The history is kind of cool because of the ghost that haunts the place.”

Since purchasing the cafe, Hullander began placing her pastries on the menu, including croissant bread puddings.

“It’s just getting to know what the customers like,” Hullander said. “I’m used to doing all these fancy desserts, but people here seem to like something that is just simple and good.”

Eventually everything on the menu will become homemade, from panini sandwiches to soups and chili in the winter. Some breakfast menu items, made by Cakes by the Lake, may still be available.

Hullander said she will continue using coffee from Minden-based Alpen Sierra Coffee Company.

“I’m not going to change what people have come to know,” Hullander said. “They have been coming here for years and know exactly what drink they want.”

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South Lake Tahoe City Council considered on Tuesday, Nov. 3, how best to allocate its remaining pool of “commercial floor area.” The space is used for development of everything from a building to outdoor dining decks.

Commercial floor area, like many development rights in the Lake Tahoe Basin, is a commodity regulated by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

According to planning manager John Hitchcock, the city currently possesses 42,710 square feet of the original 170,528 square feet that TRPA allocated for South Lake Tahoe.The city allocated most of the space to projects located in the city’s Stateline/Ski Run, Bijou/Al Tahoe and Industrial Tract areas.

Hitchcock said projects must be within an established community plan, or area of development, to receive commercial floor space from the city.

He and the council both agreed that the city should be diligent in how it allocates the remaining commercial space.

“Commercial floor area is in high demand in South Lake Tahoe,” Hitchcock said.

City staff recommended a few ideas that would allow flexible allocation of commercial area that might also benefit the community.

One example might include allocating square footage to projects that improves the local economy. Other recommendations include allocating space to projects that remove or rehabilitate rundown properties like older motels or empty strip malls.

The city council gets final say on what projects are chosen to receive space.

Aside from getting space from the city, developers can purchase it on the open market. However, Hitchcock said that option carries a high price tag.

He added that one local restaurant wanted to create an outdoor dining area, but found it would cost up to $20,000 to purchase space on the open market.

The council directed city staff to refine recommendations for future consideration.


South Lake Tahoe City Council approved a condominium plan for the Zalanta Resort at the Village project. The project is already under construction across from Heavenly Village on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

Zalanta Resort at the Village is a three-story, mixed-use complex that will include approximately 19,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. The second and third floors will contain a total of 32 condos.

According to city staff, the purpose for the condominium plan is to separate each unit for individual sale.

In the past, Lew Feldman (an attorney for Tahoe Stateline Ventures, the project’s owner) said that the condos would be fully owned by whoever purchases them.

The entire project, with a price tag between $25-$30 million, is expected to open in 2017.

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