Indian cuisine adds to Tahoe’s diversity |

Indian cuisine adds to Tahoe’s diversity

Susan Wood

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Bhupendra and Mita Dave have opened Nikki's Chaat Cafe in the Bijou Center.

Diversity meets South Lake Tahoe in a big way at Nikki’s Chaat Cafe, which was opened last January by Bhupendra and Mita Dave.

The Indian couple, who moved to Tahoe a dozen years ago, wanted to branch out from their table games slots at the Stateline casinos to try their hand at serving food. Mita, the cook, worked at Harrah’s as a pit boss and he did at Harveys.

In a whirlwind, the Daves opened the day after Carina’s closed. They knew life would be demanding to run a restaurant.

“Right now, our aim is to run a restaurant so our daughters go to college. And we thought this town needs a restaurant,” he said, referring to the Daves’ Indian menu.

They’ve kept their American menu as well. With that, the old favorite customers have stuck around since they took over Carina’s space in the Bijou Center off Highway 50.

Tom Davis, the former South Lake Tahoe mayor, said he has continued his three- to four-times-a-week ritual. He’s stuck with the American menu, minus his eating companion – former El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro. He moved to South Carolina to retire.

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“They’re great people,” Davis said Thursday.

It’s all in the family for the Daves. At least five family members supplement the seven employees they’ve kept on the payroll.

The restaurateurs have been quite pleased with the turnout. Walkers have strolled in to partake the wide variety of meals.

In particular, he mentioned one Dallas man who said he drove from Reno to try their dosas, an Indian crepe. The South Indian specialties – sada and masala dosas – expand the menu offerings for the South Shore. The longtime Taj Mahal restaurant focuses on food from northern India.

Nikki’s Chaat Cafe, which is located at 3467 Lake Tahoe Blvd., serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. It can be reached at (530) 541-3354.