Even though the pandemic still looms, businesses are open in Incline Village/Crystal Bay and continually welcoming locals and visitors alike. And as we approach the holidays, there are several restaurants (ones that have been around forever and even new ones that have sprung up during the pandemic) that offer all kinds of food.
From grab-and-go Korean BBQ wings or tamales from the new San Miguel Mexican market on Tanager to fine dining experiences at places like the Lone Eagle Grille and the Crystal Bay Steakhouse, Incline Village/Crystal Bay has you covered. Therefore, no matter what the occasion is- whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just want a delicious meal at a great price- here are some places worth trying out:
At the end of Country Club Road where the town of Incline Village meets Big Blue, Lone Eagle Grille offers fine lakeside dining right on Tahoe’s shores. Its menu features meat, seafood, and vegetarian favorites that pair nicely with unique side dishes and a signature Golden Eagle cocktail or glass of wine. Its oversized panoramic windows give most diners a glimpse of the setting sun in a romantic, comfortable atmosphere that can accommodate groups of 2-20 people. It also offers special menus around the holidays that usually consist of a four-course meal, dessert, and wine pairings (so keep a look out for LEG’s New Year’s Eve menu). Call (775) 886-6899 or visit the Lone Eagle Grille website to make a reservation.
Open from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., the Crystal Bay Steak & Lobster House right on North Shore’s state line serves 14-oz. Wagyu NY steak, lobster mac and cheese, tuna poke, and prime rib (on Sunday and Wednesday nights). Cedar Plank Salmon and hearty sides are also offered. Pair your meal with one of the many vintage wines, cognacs, or ports on its page-long wine list and you’ll go to bed full and happy. Call (775) 831-0512 to make a reservation.
If your plan is to stay in and curl up on the couch with some Netflix or in front of the fireplace with a little bubbly or craft beer, then Incline Spirits is the best place to load up on any aperitif you’re looking for from wine and spirits to non-alcoholic beverages and hard kombucha. They even carry essential items for the morning after such as Tylenol, Swedish fish and The Townie Special. Incline Spirits is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Known for their gigantic salads, buttermilk fries, and hearty hamburgers, Austin’s is a nice sit-down restaurant with a decent-sized patio for outdoor dining. Located next to Incline Spirits, the Saia family also just opened a coffee and ice cream shop, Cool Mess, behind Austin’s as well as Fumo- a cozy lounge that provides breakfast, lunch, dinner, and craft cocktails. You can even dine in your very own snow globe for a limited time.
PLACES TO EAT (OR PICK UP PROVISIONS) AROUND NEW YEAR’S
Azzara’s, 930 Tahoe Blvd. Ste. 101, Incline Village
Family-owned and operated for more than 30 years, fine Italian cooking is a passion for Andrea Azzara and her husband Cord Gitchell. From the moment you enter the Raley’s Shopping Center, you can smell the garlic and butter wafting out of the restaurant. Once inside, you’re greeted by friendly servers, lively patrons, and more delicious scents.
You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu from the pasta al dente to the pizzas or specials, but my favorite “treat” is a seasonal stuffed artichoke or tiramisu paired with prosecco. Azzara’s provides take-out, delivery, and in-house dining, but it’s best to get there early to get a seat. Read more about this Incline Village staple in the latest edition of Live Work Play, and be sure to keep an eye out for their New Year’s Eve special dinner menu which is usually off-the-charts delicious.
Located on Tahoe Boulevard across from Starbucks, a former chef from LEG has now opened his own restaurant and is putting his creative spin on breakfast and lunch cuisine from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday-Monday. Therefore, if you plan to sleep through the rest of 2021 and then wake up in 2022 craving braised bacon tacos or a healthy Tahoe Food Hub salad, then Sage Leaf is your spot (if you make a reservation in advance). Sage Leaf is also always changing and introducing new menu items…for instance, right now they have a creamy cup of butternut squash soup with curry vinaigrette available as well as ahi tuna poke served with housemade wonton chips.
For more information, visit the Sage Leaf website or call 775-413-5005 to reserve a table.
Happy Tiers Bakery started out making extravagant and memorable cakes for special occasions happening in Incline Village/Crystal Bay but has since morphed its menu to include hot chocolate bombs, cookie platters, and more. Be sure to keep an eye out for its Cookies for Santa release and consider feeding the whole fam with the Value Brunch Box…for $56 it includes a quiche, one 12 oz. container of fresh fruit, three jumbo cinnamon rolls, and a mini loaf of French bread, perfect for the start of 2022. The best part is they deliver.
Then Get a Coffee and Go Skiing. If you’re yearning for some fresh air and some sunshine (or maybe snowfall) instead of lazing around on the couch on New Year’s Day, then head over to Drink Coffee Do Stuff located at 907 Tahoe Blvd. #20A open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for a caffeinated pick-me-up. When you’re recharged, head up the hill to Incline’s resident ski resort, Diamond Peak, and take in the incredible view of Lake Tahoe from the top of Crystal Ridge.
Or Detox at Thania’s Juice Bar, 868 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village
Starting your new year off with a healthy quick meal or energy boosting juice is also a subtle way to gently ease into 2022. Fortunately, Thania’s Juice Bar in Christmas Tree Village has a wide selection of healthy, antioxidant-chocked drinks, granola bowls, and vegetarian cuisine. Try the Cactus/Aloe/Lemon juice, lox toast, or seasonal tomato basil soup. This is also a favorite spot of local athlete Lila Lapanja.
RECENTLY OPENED RESTAURANTS IN IV/CB
While it’s true that the pandemic changed our lives in many ways, it also offered some people in the IV/CB area to pursue their dreams of opening their own restaurant. Here are a few new businesses that have opened in 2021…despite all the environmental and economic challenges that lay before them:
Cape House, 930 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village (within the Raley’s Shopping Center)
Formerly known as Bertie’s, owner Rick Boyd has transformed the space into what is now Cape House. Open Wednesday-Monday from 4:30pm-9pm, Cape House serves raw oysters, crab claws, aguachile, clambakes, scampi, salmon, and more. Cape House also has an osso bucco and a Little Fish menu with non-seafood items on it.
San Miguel Tahoe Store, 895 Tanager St., Incline Village
Over on Tanager Boulevard right next to the Hive Collective, a new and authentic Mexican market opened. Find household staples like laundry detergent and cereal along with a whole refrigerator case of flavored coconut waters, leche, non-alcoholic sangria, Electrolits, and ballenas of cerveza. It also sells a floor-to-ceiling display of spices to go along with your chicharrons or flavor one of the gigantic slabs of meat available. In that department, you can find el pastor, cuts of ranchera style beef, and 12-lb. wheels of queso fresco. Its produce section features fresh veggies as well as ready-to-cook nopales (cactus), along with a wide variety of galletas (cookies) and topos (tortilla chips) to go with your homemade guac. Every once in a while they’ll serve up special tacos and guaraches; check out San Miguel’s Facebook pageto stay in the loop.
Wing’s Korean Chicken, 893 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village
During the Caldor Fire, a lot of folks were trying to flee the smoke, but one couple chose to open a Korean BBQ joint. Located across from Starbucks in the same building as Sage Leaf, Wing’s may look tiny, but it has a big menu with a lot of items chocked full of flavor. Try the Galbi or K-sauce wings (normal or boneless) made with their proprietary sweet Korean BBQ sauce recipes, with pickled radish on the side. Or dare your friends to try the spicy wings (one of the sauces has five peppers in it- including ghost pepper), If you do so, keep a cold drink or bottle of Soon Hari Yogurt Soju Korean liquor on the side to help calm down your flaming tastebuds.