Truckee’s Cottonwood Restaurant announces kitchen expansion, new chefs

Sierra Sun staff
Chefs Ben Deinken (left) and Joe Bell joined the staff at Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar, which has a new commercial kitchen under construction.
Photo: Sky Emerson/ | Summit Side Photo & Video

Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar recently announced the construction of a new commercial kitchen at the historic location overlooking downtown Truckee, along with the hiring of two new chefs.

Chefs Ben Deinken and Joe Bell have joined the staff at the restaurant, which originally served as a ski lodge and was built in 1928 from salvaged railroad ties.

Deinken served as chef de cuisine at the American Hotel, which hosted all of the broadcast networks during the Salt Lake City Olympics. He won first place at the P.C.A. cake and chocolate cooption in 2006 and was the executive chef at Chocolate Bar in Reno. Deinken has also worked at the West Shore Café, where he provided seasonal California cuisine, and at Rapscallion in Reno, where he produced fresh seafood specials and top quality Angus Beef culinary creations.

Bell was the executive chef at Wild River Grille in Reno for five years after working with celebrity chef Mark Estee at Chez Louie, a French-inspired eatery located in the Nevada Museum of Art. Bell was also the opening chef of Feast, one of the top seafood and steak houses in Reno.

From vegetables to beef to game meat, the two chefs have expanded the longtime restaurant’s menu to include veggie tacos sourced from Tahoe Food Hub; fresh chicken from Delta Farm in Loomis with garlic whipped potatoes and a burnt orange sauce; and a winter green salad from Tahoe Micro Greens. Other items on the menu include bone marrow with sweet shallot marmalade, bison, elk and venison in various forms, poutine and the classic Cottonwood whole leaf Caesar salad.

The chefs and staff will also soon be working in a new commercial kitchen that is under construction on the east side of the Cottonwood dining room. Mt. Lincoln Construction Inc. is building an 1,100 square-foot kitchen at the property. In a few months, guests will enter through the 1920s era bar and fireplace room to the 1970s dining room, to be served from the 2020 kitchen, while overlooking downtown Truckee built in the late 1800s, encompassing three different centuries rolled into one experience.

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