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Meet Your Neighbor

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunChristine Copeland
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How long have you been in area?I was born in Truckee and I grew up in Tahoe Vista, so Ive been here my whole life. I was gone for about five years, in San Francisco for school.Whats kept you here?I always wanted to come back. I went away to do architectural design so that I would be able to fit in the community and come back. I love the lake. I always knew I was coming back.Is your family still here?Yes, my parents and my brother, whos also my business partner.So how did you two come to own the new Kings Beach restaurant, Brook Avenue Grill and Gelato?My brother and I saw the restaurant for sale in the paper and thought itd be interesting to bring back the old Jonis. We thought itd be fun to find Jonis old cook and re-create the food it was a happening place to sit outside and with all thats happening in Kings Beach. Were expecting this to be a walking community. Obviously my brother and I have a heart for Kings Beach since we grew up here and went to the elementary school. Then we found Lolo, the best short-order cook who used to work for Joni. We talked to him and he said he was ready to come back to work.So whats the restaurant have in store now?Weve totally revamped the space. We re-created Jonis menu to a T. We ran across the menu when we were cleaning when we had been trying to figure it out just by memory. It was really cool, like a godsend or something. We serve Ciao Bella Gelato. We have also changed the coffee and we use Sierra Pacific Coffee, which is roasted here in Kings Beach. The lunch is old-style. We just started breakfast using Truckee Bagel, and we have fantastic breakfast burritos. Were open for breakfast and lunch. In the summer we were open later, but its really slow-going. I hope it catches on.What else do you like to do?I love to ski.Where do you like to make your turns?I mainly ski at Northstar because thats where I get a pass. My fianc works there. I ski everywhere, but thats the main spot. And its closest to Kings Beach. I also golf. Although this summer Ive been so busy with the business I havent taken a day off yet. I also love gardening, which you can tell if you ever come in here. We have fresh-cut flowers. Most of them are from my moms garden. Thats probably my number one hobby.

What were you doing before the business?I was using my degree in green design, architectural design. I was working for a small firm in Tahoe City. I felt really bad leaving them, but at some point you need to do something to try and make it in this tight community here. I would love to buy a house and Im so interested in architecture and gardening thats my ultimate goal.Do you think youll return to architecture?I think I will. Once the restaurant is on its feet Ill be able to take on my own projects, do consulting, little things here and there. Right now the restaurant is my focus, to keep coming up with ways to get people in the door.Whats your favorite memory about growing up here?I would have to say playing in the forest behind our house in Tahoe Vista right near the beaver pond. We would play in the forest until dark, my best friend lived right there. My mom would whistle for us and wed pretend not to hear her the first time. I was pretty much a tomboy. Who knows what we were doing, just playing.What was the last adventure you took?The last place I went was in Florida and there was a tornado. I dont know if it was a fun adventure, but it was an adventure. I also took a road trip and camped up to Banff, Canada where one of my friends got married. The mountains there are spectacular. Im so partial to Tahoe … but the beauty there is comparable to what we see here.If you could live anywhere else where would you choose?I wish I could afford to live here. I think I would lives in Sitges, Spain. I visited there 10 years ago and it was just welcoming. Id like to go back there someday. I could live anywhere, really. I could be happy on a farm in the middle of nowhere you just make the best of it. What are you looking forward to this winter?Snow! I love to ski, and snow brings the people, too. Its more of a happening town if it snows.If you could only eat one thing from your menu for the next year, what would it be?The blackened ahi taco. I already almost eat them every other day.The Sierra Suns Joanna Hartman interviewed Copeland for this weeks Meet Your Neighbor. Please send suggestions for future Meet Your Neighbor interviews to reporter Julie Brown: jbrown@sierrasun.com.


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