New restaurant, Maggies, aims to be go-to spot in South Lake Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe’s dining scene offers a variety of unique eats. From relaxed to high-end, everyone can find what they’re craving. Joining the restaurant scene at South Lake Tahoe’s newest premier micro-resort is Maggie’s Restaurant.
Offering an elevated dining experience that walks the line between casual and elegant, Maggie’s offers a local space and menu, that’s comforting while enticing. Upon entering, guests are warmly welcomed to feel like family, and each dish and cocktail that Maggie’s brings to their guests is uniquely curated to create a one-of-a-kind experience every visit.
“Everything in my life has always been about creating experiences for folks,” Chet Pipkin, one of the founders of Desolation Hotel, said. “Specifically, it’s of the utmost importance to create experiences for our guests here at Maggie’s.”
Although Maggie’s is located near the tourism hub of South Lake Tahoe, Pipkin clarifies that not only does he want to bring these dining experiences to hotel guests and tourists, but also the local South Lake Tahoe community members.
“We want to be a destination where people can feel super comfortable, and just have one of the best dining experiences of their lives, week after week,” Pipkin said. “We want to be the spot on this side of town that the locals can enjoy. With our staff members being local, the [South Lake Tahoe] community is important and valuable to us as guests.”
A blend of the great outdoors with the modern indoors, both Desolation Hotel and Maggie’s Restaurant have made thoughtful, conscious decisions that tether to the guest experience from start to finish.
“Our intent at Maggie’s is to celebrate Tahoe, and to feel like you’re really in the trees,” Pipkin said. “All of the decisions on branding and naming have been intentional. Maggie’s Restaurant is named after Maggie’s Peak, and Desolation Hotel of course has been named after the Desolation Wilderness that surrounds us.”
Upon entering, Maggie’s Restaurant has an intimate, romantic dining room and bar, and a large, open L-shaped patio lined with outdoor heaters, seating, and fireplaces, giving all restaurant guests the feeling that they are dining in the Tahoe pine trees.
Along with Pipkin, Crystal Zeinert, Desolation Hotel’s food and beverage manager, works to consistently provide a standalone dining experience for each guest. Zeinert has been in the restaurant industry since she was 18, and makes intentional decisions on cocktails, menu items, wine lists, seasonal items, and more.
“I’ve been actively learning, guiding, teaching, and mentoring in this new position so far, and absolutely loving it,” Zeinert said. “Almost all our staff here is in a role where they are growing – were all doing things that we’ve never done before and it’s great. The buzz around us all is so electrifying and exciting.”
Since being on board, Zeinert has made intentional decisions for Maggie’s such as curating the restaurant’s customized cocktail menu and showcasing unique blends. Of the many ways the hotel takes it a step above the rest, each drink on the cocktail menu is named after a staff member’s dog and their personality, such as ‘Marley’s Mellow Mood,’ a chai pear shrub and vanilla vodka mix, and ‘Clara’s Got Kick,’ a honeydew and jalapeno margarita.
Along with drinks, the food at Maggie’s is locally sourced as much as possible from the region, and made in-house by their head chef, Skyler Chauss. The brunch and dinner menus are modern-American inspired, and Chauss made purposeful decisions to bring eccentric options to the menu such as handmade pasta and grilled octopus on the dinner menu, and chicken fried pork belly over biscuits and gravy on the brunch menu.
“In our menu, we really try hard to highlight what food is all about, and that’s bringing people together,” Zeinert said. “Bringing these distinct options to the menu not only offers something for everyone, but also challenges people to try something new, ultimately creating more buzz.”
Zeinert elaborates on that “buzz” that the Maggie’s staff is working to grow and wants all restaurant guests to “feel like they are at home” when dining.
“By the end of the meal experience many times, everyone in the restaurant is talking to everyone,” Zeinert said. “It’s not just talking to the people that our guests are with, they’re talking to the people sitting next to them, and before we know it the entire restaurant and patio are all chatting together. It really creates this fun environment that not only brings our guests back to enjoying each other and having good service, but also enjoying everyone around; and you really don’t see that in many restaurants. Coming here is like dining at home.”
While Maggie’s has only been open since August, they are optimistic that they will continue to grow in the South Lake Tahoe community as a restaurant staple, and the restaurant wholeheartedly credits their success thus far to their staff.
“It’s all about our local staff, and allowing them to feel and be empowered, that’s truly how we create magic,” Pipkin said. “The excellent feedback loop we are getting from the community is great, and we couldn’t be more excited to watch this dream continue to grow.”
Desolation Hotel is located at 933 Poplar Street in South Lake Tahoe, and Maggie’s Restaurant is on the third floor of the hotel.
For more information, visit desolationhotel.com.
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