Best brunch spots on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore |

Best brunch spots on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore

Autumn Whitney
Make Leslie Knope proud and get a nice stack of waffles for brunch.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Brunch — a meal that takes the best of both worlds and allows you to commit major social faux pas. You want fries with your breakfast? Go for it. Because, you know, brunch. Nothing beats waking up late on a weekend and enjoying a sodium-filled meal, especially when you get to enjoy it in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

South Shore is no stranger to good eats, and certainly not when it comes to iconic breakfast/lunch combos. Get your carb fix or load up on protein at one of our favorite South Lake Tahoe locations.

Ernie’s Coffee Shop

Family-owned since the late ‘60s, Ernie’s is your traditional breakfast-served-all-day café. The extensive menu includes everything from bacon and eggs to biscuits, scrams and omelettes, pancakes, waffles, french toast, breakfast burritos and more.

If you’re looking forward to an action-packed day on the slopes, you may want to try the Big Mountain Breakfast: choose between six link sausages, six slices of bacon, four sausage patties or ham, and pair it with three eggs, a biscuit and gravy, hash browns or home fries and coffee, tea or large juice.

Ernie’s also offers vegan options in addition to a lunch menu that features burgers, hot and cold sandwiches and more. Calling it a day after spending the morning at your favorite resort? Check out the Big Mountain Lunch: a half-pound burger with bacon and cheese, served on a cheese roll with french fries and a cup of soup.

The Viking Burger, named in honor of the local high school mascot, is another notable item: a third-pound burger with lettuce, tomato and thousand island dressing served on a sesame bun with a side of shoestring or steak fries.

Learn more about Ernie’s Coffee Shop, which is located at 1207 Emerald Bay Road and open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, online at

Driftwood Café

Owners Bud and Michelle Hillman have owned and operated the Heavenly Village-based restaurant for nearly 20 years, but the two have over 50 combined years of experience in the hospitality industry.

The couple’s restaurant boasts a variety of breakfast specialties — the Huevos Del Driftwood is created with tortilla chips, grilled potatoes and mushrooms and topped with two over-medium eggs, homemade salsa, melted cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions; the Breakfast of Champions includes old fashioned oats served with cinnamon, raisins, milk and brown sugar and a homemade blueberry bran muffin.

Driftwood Café also serves dishes commonly found on breakfast menus, such as eggs Benedict and a variety of omelettes, as well as a diverse lunch selection: fish tacos, a black bean chicken chili burrito and “The Driftwood,” albacore tuna salad and cheddar cheese grilled on sourdough bread, all make appearances.

Located at 1001 Heavenly Village Way Suite 1a, the restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Additional information can be found at

The Getaway Café

Owner Diane Guth has been involved in the restaurant industry since the age of 14, and her mission is to bring fresh ingredients to locals and visitors at an affordable price.

Her Meyers establishment offers a mix of American, Italian and Mexican cuisines, resulting in a menu that explodes with flavor. Eggs and veggie Benedicts, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, banana nut pancakes and coconut-crusted french toast all find a place in The Getaway Café.

Other notable specialties include the Getaway Breakfast Burrito (a spinach tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, red and green peppers, onions and pepper jack cheese and your choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo or vegetarian) and Hangover Helper (chorizo and home fries sautéed with tomatoes, onions and peppers, topped with melted cheddar cheese and served with toast and two eggs).

View the full menu online at The Getaway Café is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is located at 3140 U.S. 50.

Red Hut Café

While there are now five Red Hut locations — two in South Lake Tahoe and one each in Kingsbury Grade, Carson City and Reno — the original waffle shop opened in 1959 and remains at 2723 Lake Tahoe Blvd. to this day.

The restaurant, primarily known for waffles, offers a multitude of flavors to fulfill your carb cravings. Staff still uses the original recipe that was created more than 50 years ago, but it has now expanded to include varieties like banana, coconut, pecan, walnut, strawberry, bacon and — of course — the infamous chicken and waffle combo.

If you’re not a waffle fan, first of all Leslie Knope would be ashamed, and second of all, don’t worry. Red Hut Café offers other breakfast specials such as the Red Hut Rösti, which consists of hash browns covered with melted cheese, sour cream, green onions and your choice of bacon, ham or sausage.

The original Hut is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional details about all locations are available online at

Heidi’s Pancake House

The restaurant offers four-egg omelettes, locally made sausage, crepes, breakfast burritos, burgers, salads and sandwiches, but let’s be honest — you should come here for the pancakes. After all, it is in the name.

The Swiss chalet building at 3485 Lake Tahoe Blvd. has been home to Heidi’s Pancake House since 1964, and the location consistently serves up unique, Tahoe-themed meals.

Pancakes come in stacks of four or six, so bring your appetite. From blueberry to strawberry, raspberry, bacon and more, your taste buds are sure to be satisfied. Try the Vikingsholm waffle (served with an egg and choice of sausage or bacon), Alpine waffle (served with hot apple compote, a sprinkle of granola and whipped cream) or the Heavenly Valley (vanilla ice cream and hot strawberries with whipped cream) if you’re really feeling in the Tahoe spirit.

Heidi’s Pancake House is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and additional information is available online at

Now it’s time to learn the best spots to get your brunch buzz going.

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