Meet your Merchant: Aloha, from Jake’s on the Lake
TAHOE CITY, Calif. andamp;#8212; Craving some fresh seafood, short ribs or a salad with a view of Lake Tahoe? Look no further than Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe City. The restaurant, which opened in 1978, has become a favorite of both locals and visitors year-round. Chris Thibaut purchased the business, formerly a TS Restaurant, in 2005, and it’s been uphill since.andamp;#8220;I can’t believe it’s been seven and a half years now. It just flies by,andamp;#8221; said Mark Oshiro, assistant general manager. andamp;#8220;Lots of changes happened (in 2005) when Chris bought the restaurant.andamp;#8221; When Thibaut took over the restaurant, it brought changes to the menu, as well as how new items were introduced to the menu. Locals soon had a voice in what was served and employees’ voices were heard loud and clear.andamp;#8220;Employees definitely had a lot of say in how we could improve the restaurant,andamp;#8221; Oshiro said.One big change that occurred in 2005 was bringing chef Scott Yorkey on board. After working in another TS Restaurant in Southern California, Yorkey found himself in Tahoe as the executive chef of Jake’s.Yorkey is responsible for the restaurant’s award-winning short ribs, cooked in a sweet ginger-chili glaze.andamp;#8220;Short ribs have become signature around here,andamp;#8221; the Chef added. andamp;#8220;It’s something we did as a winter dish, and that summer we took it off the menu and people told us we couldn’t do that. It stays on year round these days.andamp;#8221;
The restaurant is also well known for its fresh seafood.andamp;#8220;We always have 4 to 6 different types of fish. Alaskan halibut, wild salmon, ahi tuna, trout and sea bass, just to name a few,andamp;#8221; Yorkey said. andamp;#8220;We’re very particular about the fish we serve here. We look for very high quality seafood.andamp;#8221;In fact, Yorkey and his crew are so selective of the seafood that some is turned away at the door if it doesn’t meet their standards.Yorkey added that Jake’s will have fresh shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams and mussels this summer as well.Another popular item on the menu is the Hearts of Palm salad, featuring toasted hazelnuts, butter leaf lettuce and sweet basil vinaigrette. andamp;#8220;People come here just for that salad,andamp;#8221; Yorkey explained.With the amount of fresh food that gets delivered to Jake’s every day, the kitchen staff is extremely busy. During lunch and dinner hours, there is upward of 12 people in the kitchen at one time, from prep cooks to line cooks to dishwashers. The kitchen crew arrives at 6 a.m. to begin preparing for the day, and the kitchen stays busy well into the night.andamp;#8220;The kitchen gets a pretty good workout,andamp;#8221; Yorkey said.Jake’s is so committed to serving only the freshest ingredients, he said, that one of the vendors added a special Saturday morning delivery for them. andamp;#8220;We always try to first pick what’s in season and what’s been raised and caught sustainably whenever possible,andamp;#8221; Yorkey added.The menu changes from winter to summer, and the restaurant is currently finalizing its summer 2012 menu, Oshiro said.
Visitors now have several ways of getting to Jake’s, either by boat or land. The restaurant is excited to welcome patrons via the now-public marina, Bowman said, and a soon-to-be completed bike path.andamp;#8220;We’re very much looking forward to the completion of the bike path. We feel it’s going to be a real big plus for this area in general,andamp;#8221; he said.The official ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the Tahoe City Lakeside Trail will take place Thursday, June 21 at Jake’s, from 2-4 p.m.While Jake’s is well-known for its fresh cuisine, it also plays a big role in the community, lending a hand andamp;#8212; or some food andamp;#8212; whenever possible. Certain groups, such as the Rotary Club of Tahoe City and Tahoe League for Charity, meet a Jake’s regularly. Jake’s also hosts events such as the annual Charity Fishing Derby to give back to the community.andamp;#8220;Community orientation is really big for us, (as well as) taking care of the locals,andamp;#8221; Thibaut said.andamp;#8220;We invest a lot of time in (local charities),andamp;#8221; Oshiro added.Jake’s has helped and hosted countless charitable organizations in the Tahoe community. The restaurant’s community involvement goes hand in hand with the andamp;#8220;Mountain Alohaandamp;#8221; mantra it operates under.andamp;#8220;That’s the meaning of aloha; our home is your home,andamp;#8221; said Gail Bowman, Jake’s office manager.The Hawaiian connections at the restaurant stem from when it was owned by TS Restaurants, which owns other establishments in Hawaii. The Pacific Rim culture is intertwined into the menu, employees and atmosphere of Jake’s.andamp;#8220;We extend that feeling of aloha and hospitality to every guest that walks through the door,andamp;#8221; Yorkey said.
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