Finding a niche in Truckee: Cafe Spira to offer California cuisine
When it comes to the world of food service, Tina Miguel has pretty much done it all.
As soon as she could stand on a chair and reach the counter in her mother’s kitchen at age 7, Miguel helped her mom prepare for dinner parties and family get-togethers.
At age 15, she started working in restaurants in the Monterey and Carmel, Calif., areas. Later on, she opened a couple of her own eateries on the Central Coast.
Four years ago, Miguel and her husband, Joe, moved to Truckee. Immediately, she felt something was missing on the Truckee restaurant scene.
“I was raised in an area with some of the finest restaurants in the country, with the greatest produce available,” she said. “Truckee had a need for something a bit more innovative.”
“So Joe said, ‘Why don’t we open our own?'” Miguel said.
So she did. She created the business plan, got the financing and, for the first time, did the interior design for her very own restaurant in Truckee.
After the finishing touches were complete, Miguel’s Cafe Spira opened its doors for breakfast and lunch on Thursday.
The menu will feature California cuisine, with traditional plates like skillets and innovative dishes like veggie eggs benedict. Cafe Spira – open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – will also feature a full-service coffee bar and fresh baked goods for people rushing to work.
On the weekends, patrons can sip on a mimosa while eating breakfast on the patio.
For lunch, Cafe Spira will offer wraps, sandwiches and salads, with daily specials like lobster ravioli and fresh soups.
Since Miguel has done a lot of the preparation for Cafe Spira’s opening herself, she said she’s “slightly overwhelmed” right now.
“Restaurants fail very easily,” she said. “[Cafe Spira] is a long-term commitment. We want to deliver a consistent high-quality product. We don’t ever want to lower our standards.”
Miguel said she plans to champion food service challenges with a “young-but-experienced staff,” her general manager, Jenny Graham, who was born and raised in the area, and a location that’s a short walk from the hospital and other potential lunch crowds.
Much like the part of her childhood spent in the kitchen with her mother, Miguel hopes Cafe Spira will have a familial atmosphere. She hopes to incorporate her three children – Emma, 9, Nick, 10, and Nino, 11 – as part of her staff on the weekends.
After all, she said, it has been her family’s energy that keeps her going through the challenges of opening her own restaurant from the ground, up.
“My husband has really been a catalyst in [opening Cafe Spira],” she said. “I wanted to bag it two or three different times in the last few months. It’s overwhelming. He’s kept me motivated enough to jump the next hurdle.”
Cafe Spira is located at 10770 Donner Pass Road, Suite 101 in the Gateway East center.
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