Full steam ahead: A Tahoe favorite is back in business
When the steamer ship S.S. Tahoe faced adversity, it was intentionally sunk in Lake Tahoe.
But Steamers Bar & Grill is too important to abandon ship: That was the thinking of its four investors who have refurbished and reopened the popular locals place to eat and drink.
“We wanted someone to open it up, but we didn’t expect it to be us,” said Dennis Sheehan, who purchased Steamers with his wife, Kelly, and partners Joe and Kathleen Silvestri.
Dennis is a painting contractor, and Kelly is ending a 30-year career in the banking industry, the last several years at El Dorado Savings. Joe’s a CPA from the Bay Area, where Kathleen is a hairstylist.
Dennis and Kelly were on hand for taco night, a Monday tradition at Steamers. The bar had been open for only four days after closing for almost half a year, but you’d never know it. The place was packed.
Carrying a to-go bag, Irvalene Blount came over to congratulate one of the new owners.
“So many people are excited about you opening,” Blount told Kelly Sheehan.
“I came here to meet a friend, but then I end up seeing a lot of friends, and then I found out that Kelly is one of the owners,” she said.
Steamers smells fresh and clean, its floors and walls are sanded, finished and stained, the kitchen has all stainless steel fixtures and shelves, and there are seven new flat-screen televisions.
“We went beyond what (building inspectors) ask for,” Dennis Sheehan said. “It’s a locals bar, and we just couldn’t cut any corners.”
The patrons, however, are the same, and so are the core employees: Audi Leonard is behind the bar, Melanie Abbondandolo and Bernadette Schneeberg are servers, and Gary Toyama and Christian Metz are back in the kitchen.
Leonard was with Steamers when it was at its peak under former owner Doc Llamas, who became a primary investor in 1996 when he changed the name from TJ’s. On one Monday night in 2001, Steamers served 1,639 tacos.
Leonard predicted that Steamers will become as popular as it’s ever been.
“Were going to get different variety of crowd,” he said. “I think with some of our new staff, we will be bringing in more of the younger generation, and of course the old stand-bys like myself will still be coming in. I think it’s going to be a huge success.”
Although Steamers reopened without missing a beat, a locals grand opening is in the works for Jan. 31, with free appetizers, an all-day happy hour and food and drink specials.
And, of course, a bunch of your friends will be there.
Steamers Bar and Grill
2236 Lake Tahoe Blvd., at the intersection of Tahoe Keys Boulevard
Phone: (530) 541-8818
Tahoe Nights: Monday and Saturday
Steak Night: Friday
Prime Rib Night: Sunday
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m.
Steamers Bar & Grill is not:
— A surf spot south of the Bay Area
— A restaurant that offers steamed clams
— A pizza joint on Tahoe’s North Shore
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