Rep. Kiley visits area leaders, presents congressional certificate to Lake Tahoe Pizza Co.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Congressman Kevin Kiley spent the day Friday in South Lake Tahoe meeting with area leaders before recognizing a longtime business for its years of service to the community.

“Brothers, cousins, and wives have all played a role, weathering literal storms and fires to come out stronger than ever,” said Kiley of the South Shore’s 50-year Pizza Pioneer, Lake Tahoe Pizza Co., as he presented business owners J. Levon Touryan and son, Brennon Touryan, with a congressional certificate of recognition, which the Touryans graciously accepted.

Congressman Kevin Kiley with Lake Tahoe Pizza Co. Founder J. Levon Touryan and son Brennon Touryan presented a certificate of congressional recognition by Congressman Kevin Kiley
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The story of the business is the embodiment of “the American dream,” Kiley said and commended Levon and said, “To start a business as an immigrant and see it through for so many years, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

“It’s special to witness a family that works so collaboratively to make an institution like this happen,” the congressman added before turning the microphone over to longtime community member and representative of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber, Duane Wallace.

“Restaurant years are like dog years,” Wallace jokingly introduced himself and mused at the time gone by. 

Wallace, a fellow business owner, said when Lake Tahoe Pizza opened there was an obvious shift in patronage in the new restaurant’s favor.  

“I wish we had more businesses like these guys,” Wallace said. “When I come here I never doubt I’m going to get the product and service I’ve come to expect.”

Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Kiley requested a DC branch fill in the void of “good pizza” by the brand that has been recognized by other accolades such as “Best places I’ve ever been” on the travel channel, “Best pizza of Tahoe” and now boasting a congressional recommendation “for unique and extraordinary pizza.”

Levon soaked in the moment standing in the building he bought and renovated in 1980 and said, “We all have history and it’s based on our experiences and who we become over time.”

We had to get through a lot of things, Levon reminisced about the grand opening fiasco where everything was in place save for the napkins. After all the work, Levon realized they forgot napkins and had to make his way to the market. 

“But the blessings never stopped,” Touryan said and added that his family taught him to “Have strong faith, perseverance and determination.”

Those characteristics get you through most things, according to the founder.

Kiley showed a glimpse of his determination to get to know the community behind the beauty of the basin. 

The recognition of Lake Tahoe Pizza Co. was bookended by other meetings on Kiley’s itinerary for the day.

LTCC students, staff and college leaders hosted a lunch meeting with honorary guest, Kiley.

“They are really tailoring to the community needs and have the students going out directly after graduation to fulfill critical workforce needs, with tremendous leadership and only one of two community colleges in the state to take advantage of funding for campus housing,” Kiley said. 

The attendees used their time to discuss current facilities with a tour of campus with highlights of buildings such as the Lisa Maloff University Center and future sites of housing facilities as well as programs such as the LTCC Promise program, the Rising Scholars Programs to name a few.

During the luncheon, Board President Tony Sears welcomed Kiley to the campus, Dean Brad Deeds provided an overview of LTCC’s forestry, fire and culinary programs, and Dean Ali Bissonnette discussed LTCC’s degree and transfer pathways, according to Laura Metune, LTCC’s senior director of government relations and grant development. 

(Back row from left) LTCC student trustee Geego Ocampo, Ali Bissonnette, dean of instruction, Astrea Marion, student senate president, Congressman Kevin Kiley, Laura Salinas, director of equity and student wellness, Zamany Seguin, LTCC student, Vasti Aranda, LTCC student (Front row, from left) LTCC Board President Tony Sears, Brad Deeds, dean of workforce development, Laura Metune, senior director of grant development and government relations, Elizabeth Gabel, administrative assistant, Adrian Escobedo, director of forestry, fire and public safety, Manuel Sanchez, director of Hispanic serving institution grant, and Doug Williams, community member.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Students shared information regarding their educational goals and provided insights into face-to-face and online learning experiences. Director Laura Salinas discussed how LTCC is addressing students’ basic needs by providing access to the food pantry, emergency aid, and affordable housing. 

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