Meet Your Merchant: Cutthroat’s renovates, maintains saloon feel
Special to the Bonanza
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — While Cutthroat’s Saloon inside the Hyatt has undergone a renovation, it still has the Old West watering hole.
Soft light from miner-style lanterns, a copper ceiling and soft leather bar stools still create a saloon feel, but some additions make the location a choice sports bar.
Cutthroat’s installed 17 new TVs throughout the restaurant/bar and brought in CiNet, an audio system that allows guests to stream the sound from a chosen game to their smart phones or iPads.
Bartender Erica Fleming has been pouring drinks at Cutthroat’s for 10 years and describes the atmosphere as “casual and cozy.”
“It’s a good spot where you can go with your family, but it’s also close to the casino so if people want to game they can do that too,” she said.
Fleming estimates that locals make up a majority of the crowd at Cutthroat’s, and during sports season, the bar is always packed.
A SALOON EVOLUTION
Executive sous chef Wade Eybel has enjoyed watching the gradual evolution at Cutthroat’s Saloon. Bringing new and fresh ideas to Cutthroat’s has been part of his agenda since coming to the Hyatt eight years ago.
Although the menu will keep its favorites for this summer, he said guests can expect to see changes in the fall.
Some of the menu’s recent, more subtle changes have been a move toward more seasonal menu items as well as offering more salads.
“We’re not a health food store — but we’re not a greasy food basket,” Eybel said.
Using Truckee Sourdough for sandwiches and cheeses from Sierra Nevada Creamery is part of the restaurant’s — and the Hyatt as a whole — move toward using more local products.
“We’re always developing new menu items and new concepts,” Eybel said. “The fun part of the job is to work with chefs and develop new influences; we’re constantly showing each other new things.”
Keeping up with the latest trends in the culinary world is not just part of the job description, but one of Eybel’s hobbies.
His latest fascination? Barbecue. From the regular American style ribs to Santa Monica style tri-tip and the white sauce in Alabama’s barbecue, Eybel loves learning “the stories behind the community that started it.”
“I’m always reading and consuming information when I can,” he said.
The executive sous chef turns to the latest books and the New York Times for information about barbecue.
Wade classifies the cuisine at Cutthroat’s as “approachable, upscale bar food.”
Sharing appetizers is common among families and larger parties, he said.
Cutthroat’s most popular appetizers — fried calamari, pork sliders and nachos — are the restaurants top-selling items.
And keeping up with the theme of Western Saloon food, Cutthroat’s serves chili as well as dish remnant of the cowboy days — a coffee-rubbed rib eye served with “campfire beans.”
Guests stake their claim at Cutthroat’s by tacking a dollar bill to the wall. Green bills with handwritten names, messages and dates accumulate during the year.
The tradition started many years ago, along with the tradition of taking the money off the walls and donating it to a local cause.
Today, the walls at Cutthroat’s are barren — the restaurant recently donated 1,000 of the dollars to the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.
Last year, Cutthroat’s chose to sponsor an Incline Elementary fourth-grade class’s trip to a ropes course, and the first year Cutthroat’s pulled the bills off of the walls, the Children’s Cabinet received $4,000.
Giving back and being part of the community is something for which the restaurant/bar always strives.
“It’s a really wonderful place to work,” Fleming said. “We’re like family.”
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.