California Burger Co. in Heavenly Village offers art, music and more
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
If you go
What: California Burger Co.
Hours: 11:30-2:00 a.m.
Where: 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe
The newest addition to Heavenly Village, California Burger Co., opened in late summer. It’s the fifth restaurant for partner Ted Kennedy, who began his career in the restaurant industry when Fireside Pizza opened 15 years ago in Squaw Valley. At South Shore, Kennedy and his partners started with Basecamp Pizza Co., followed up with Azul last year and now have California Burger Co. All are located in Heavenly Village.
The group’s philosophy is simple: They’re in the people business, they just happen to sell burgers.
“We want to be in the people business with respect to the people that work with us, but obviously also the customers, even the vendors, everyone we have an opportunity to touch, we want to focus on that,” Kennedy said.
The staff at California Burger Co. live out this philosophy through the fun, family friendly atmosphere they create and by giving back to the community.
What makes this burger joint different? Not only are their burgers made from 100-percent Angus beef, which is USDA certified all natural and hormone free, they also get their buns from Truckee Sourdough Company.
“We get shipments every day of fresh bread,” said general manager Ryan Church.
If it isn’t burgers you fancy, you can replace the beef burger with an all-natural chicken, turkey or veggie patty.
“We use a house-made bourbon brine for our chicken, which makes it super juicy and gives it a smoky flavor,” said Church.
Chef Daryl Altman, a Cordon Bleu and Italian Culinary Institute graduate, strives to make the best burger at Tahoe. California Burger staff believe a better quality product will produce a better taste, but burgers aren’t the only draw to the restaurant. For whiskey lovers, there are over 100+ different bottles.
“There is something for everyone,” Church said.
Nehele Two Feathers and Mike Lewis are the brains behind creating the extensive drink list, which gives people the opportunity to try something new and explore their palates.
There are also a plethora of events and activities for locals and tourists. The tag line for the new restaurant is “Burgers, Music, Art.”
“Rather than focusing on one or two events, we try to have something fun going on everyday,” Church said.
Live music takes place daily, and to top it off there are musical instruments on the walls tuned so that guests can join in the fun.
“We really believe this could be the New Orleans of California because there are so many talented local musicians,” Kennedy said.
Other activities hosted by the restaurant include hula hoopers and fire throwers.
The third part of their tag line, “Art,” is also front and center in creating a fun and fresh atmosphere. Local artists display their creations around the restaurant, giving visitors the opportunity to purchase a piece of Tahoe and take it home with them. Guests to the restaurant may even see local artists painting outside while they grab a burger and listen to live music.
Not only does California Burger always have something fun going on, but they also give back to the community. Every Wednesday night they do a local heros night where they give an entrée to police, fireman, nurses, teachers and active duty military.
“We really want to put our money where our mouth is and give back to the community in a positive way,” Kennedy said. In addition, some of the proceeds of the live music go to Bread and Broth, which feeds the hungry in the South Shore community.
If it’s your first time or you’re a regular, make sure you try their flagship offering, the California Burger. This signature burger has Haas avocados, tomatoes, spinach, red onion, California jack cheese, pesto and their house made garlic aioli. It’s sure not to disappoint. Another great choice is the Ohana with chicken. The Hawaiian-themed sandwich has vibrant flavors and a tangy teriyaki sauce.
California Burger Co. has a lot to offer, and Kennedy tries to lead by example.
“You can create people that hate you, people that like you, people that love you, and then raving fans, that’s what we really want to create, people that love you so much that there are ridiculous fans,” Kennedy said. “They are out there talking about you. That’s what we want to go after, what we can do to create raving fans.”
Loren Conway is a freelance writer living in South Lake Tahoe. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.