MEET YOUR MERCHANT: A change in Philosophy: Downtown Truckee location revamps menu, seeks to take customer experience to next level
Since opening in May of 2018, Philosophy has provided Truckee locals and visitors with locally sourced menu items along with a sizeable list of wines and beers to choose from.
During that time, however, the venue has had its ups and downs in terms of bringing in a consistent clientele to its location at the very western end of Historic Downtown Truckee.
Recently, owner Hayden Pruitt brought on a new manager in hopes of turning things around, and after hiring longtime local Roxy Dominguez, decided to step aside and turn the reins over, allowing her to bring her own philosophy to the location.
“I feel like a lot of people have written Philosophy off,” said Dominguez. “We’re owning our own identity — tapas-inspired menu, we have amazing sake cocktails, craft beer, and it’s always a party.”
Dominguez has lived in the area for the past decade and had previously served as general manager at Trokay. But after seven years of working there, Dominguez, who says she transient in nature, longed for a change.
“It was time to do my own thing, and this place has been amazing for that opportunity,” she said. “At the end of the day, I wanted to be working on something I’m proud of, something I’m excited to do and not just slaving away for other people’s dreams.”
ADDING HER OWN TOUCHES
Dominguez took over managerial duties at Philosophy roughly three months ago, and after a couple weeks of working at the location and observing business, Dominguez began adding her own touches to the venue, changing everything from the drink list and menu items to adding soundboards to allow for better conversations during busy nights.
Dominguez also said she didn’t feel she could sell the menu items, so she reached out to friend and experienced chef, David Silva, to come aboard and create a new menu.
“We’re trying to make food that’s approachable for people,” said Silva, who has worked as a chef for 11 years, including at Madera in Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park.
Upon approaching Silva to take on chef duties, Dominguez said she took special care to make sure to keep his eyes away from the small kitchen area as she described the job opportunity.
“It’s a tiny kitchen,” she said. “There’s no hood vents; there’s no ovens.”
When Silva saw what he’d be working with — induction burners — he didn’t believe there was a chance the two could pull off a new menu.
“I didn’t think it would be possible,” he said. “It’s such a limited space. Then I just came in and started thinking differently … I had to learn something new.”
Silva soon created a tapas-inspired menu, which went live last week and includes items such as braised Spanish octopus, oysters, muscles, winter squash hummus, and more.
“I think the Hamachi ceviche is hands down the best menu item,” said Dominguez. “It just pops, it’s so bright and so delicious.”
There’s also items like a Nanaimo bar, which is “a Canadian classic dessert,” said Dominguez, who grew up in the Canadian Rockies. “It’s my treat that I make for all of my Canada Day parties, and now it’s on the menu. That excites me. The chef’s mom’s rice krispy recipe is on the menu. The stuff that David is pulling off is insane.”
The menu also includes entrees like braised short ribs, pasta Bolognese and others.
“My husband is from Spain,” said Dominguez. “His tortilla Española recipe is on the menu.”
REASONS TO STOP BY
Aside from new menu items, Dominguez has been working on bringing regular events to Philosophy like it’s Sunday après ski live music, open mic nights, $5 happy hours, Truckee student showcases at the end of each month, paint and sip events, and more.
“All of those little events, I think are amazing,” said Dominguez. “I’m going to keep pushing those and booking as many as I can. The other goal is just getting it into people’s mind that, ‘Hey, Philosophy we can go there for dinner,’ just getting people to know about us.”
Dominguez is also pushing for Philosophy to be a location for meetings, staff parties, industry nights, and wedding rehearsals.
“People need a reason to come here, so with the new menu changes and the direction of the events, we’re trying to give (people) a reason to stop by,” Dominguez said. “Every change, every direction we’re going now is our voice.
“At the end of the day we’re going to own this space, and menu, and beverage list, and kick some butt doing it — not a new restaurant here, but totally owning it. We want people to think of us as the go-to spot for large groups. This place can really transform into anything.”
For more information Philosophy and its new lineup of menu items, visit TruckeePhilosophy.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.