Pollock Pines’ 50 Grand Restaurant & Bar celebrating 80 years 

Submitted to the Tribune

POLLOCK PINES, Calif. – A lovely 45 minute drive over Echo Summit, and along the American River on Highway 50, is Tahoe’s little gateway town of Pollock Pines, CA. If you turn north at exit 60, Sly Park Road, there holds a restaurant with an eight decade history…50 Grand Restaurant and Bar. There’s something special about a historically celebrated—and locally owned—restaurant that’s been able to be a part of the community since 1943. Thoughtfully renovated during the COVID pandemic, 50 Grand celebrates everything local that El Dorado County has to offer. 

The building started in 1930, as a Flying-A, then Signal gas station, garage, and store in 1930 to serve weary travelers before they headed over the summit to South Lake Tahoe. Soon, it organically evolved into being the center of the growing Pollock Pines community of loggers and electric generation damn builders along the American River. 

In 1930, the building became a Signal gas station, garage, and store.

Since 1943 it’s been a café with simple food to pack and travel or work with, to a destination Chinese restaurant, Italian restaurant, and finally settling in 1955 on a familiar theme of hearty comfort foods like ribs, steaks, & fish…while offering a fine bar with delicious libations.  

Jim and Kim McCarthy bought the historic restaurant in 2018.  They thought it would be such a great gift to the community, to restore the glory of this landmark in Pollock Pines since the town had lost so many restaurants and gathering areas over the years. 

The McCarthy’s goal has been to embrace every piece of local history. They did a five year remodel that they, their sons Logan & Quinn, and bar manager Jimmy, along with many parts of the community, helped complete in September 2023. Many items in the kitchen and bar were rescued from the Lakeside Casino before it was demolished. Their details of celebrating local is evident on every wall; from historical pictures of local residents, businesses, and locations, to the hostess station lined with the original 2″ x 12″ pecked cedar floor that hadn’t burned in the 1983 fire, to the bar shelving being made from old pipes from under the building, and sliced pillars from the original Camino Mill drying shed. 

Jim and Kim McCarthy

It’s warm, friendly, and has a good vibe that makes ones dining and cocktail experience quite enjoyable. Definitely a unique and welcoming dining experience to be enjoyed from guests near and far. More often than not, owners Jim and Kim circulate the dining room, making an effort to welcome every guest that enters their doors, so they know their visit and experience matter. 

Chef Patrick creates upscale comfort food, Bar & Front of house manager Jimmy Voelker designs amazing signature cocktails, Kim makes the desserts from scratch, Jim trims the beef to perfection. They celebrate local with as much local produce, meat, and beverages as possible. Items are house-made, not from a box or mix, from bar to kitchen.

Creating a uniquely delicious experience you didn’t know you were missing. 50 Grand Restaurant and Bar reminds you of what going out, use to be like. You will feel special, welcomed, and satisfied after an evening with them. Become part of its history, like several generations of families that have come through its doors to eat, drink, and celebrate their lives together around a table with good food, drink, and memories. 

50 Grand Restaurant and Bar

They invite everyone to enjoy and celebrate 50 Grand Restaurant & Bar’s 80th Anniversary on September 9, 2023 from noon to 8 p.m. Tie Dye your own shirt from noon – 8 p.m. out front with Hippy Bob. There will be the regular lunch menu 11:30 a.m. -4 p.m. In the evening, enjoy local musicians with their own tunes, from 4–8 p.m., while enjoying a special one evening treat—the original 1950s dinner menu—being featured with choice of Ribs, NY Steak, Lobster, Grilled Ham Steaks, Fried Prawns, and Parfait dessert. No reservations, first come first serve.  All other days the regular menu will be offered, which you can find at

Take a 45 minute drive to the new and improved 50 Grand Restaurant & Bar. There’s a reason it’s something special, and has won many local awards as a steakhouse, bar, and local favorite. Now they’re waiting to make grand memories together with you. Come on over to 6401 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, Exit 60 or call 530-644-1580. 

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