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Tahoe couple brings family to new Meyers restaurant

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / El Papagayo owners, from left, Jennifer Guenther, Ross Whitney and Andrew Guenther, holding his son, Cruz Guenther, stand outside their Meyers business, which opened three weeks ago.
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MEYERS – One restaurant has hatched another at the west end of the South Shore, with the opening of El Papagayo Grill and Cafe three weeks ago.

After an extensive remodeling effort, the eatery and espresso shop located next to the former Chris’ Cafe and new Getaway Cafe replaced The Hatch.

Andy and Jennifer Guenther, along with father Ross Whitney, bought the place two years ago when Andy Guenther was talking to a friend over a meal at Chris’. It’s an “all-in-the-family” operation, with even 8-month-old Cruz showing up for a visit on Mother’s Day.



“We did a complete retrofit,” he said. The place was gutted, making way for light pine woodwork and two wood-burning stoves on the first and second floors.

The Guenthers’ Tahoe story is a familiar one. Knowing their college education at UC Santa Cruz where they met may not benefit them on the South Shore, the couple found different professions to make a living.



She has been a waitress, substitute teacher and bartender. He has also been a bartender, construction worker and snowboard instructor.

“I even delivered pizza,” he said.

Many Tahoe residents like the Guenthers hold out with jobs until they see the right opportunity to open their own business. It’s the Guenthers’ first such venture, employing 10 people.

Since they’ve opened, she said there’s been a few different types of customers. On typical days, they’ll get workers during the day and families in the evening.

Either way, the customer base is “very local,” she said.

With his family in the Yucatan, Mexico, the Guenthers emphasize the roots of the food culture in their offerings of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and taquitos.

The prices from the grill range from chips and salsa at $1.75 to combo plates at $9 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Upstairs, the cafe serves coffee, tea, smoothies, espresso and bagel sandwiches from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The double-decker operation, which is open every day except Tuesday at 3132 Highway 50, can be reached at (530) 577-3344 or (530) 577-2233. Takeouts are available.


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