The new Shadyside Lounge, which opened in early November in the Tahoe Park neighborhood on the outskirts of Tahoe City, has been a long time coming. Over 10 years ago, Scott Zumwalt, who’s one of the owners of Tahoe City’s beloved Bridgetender Tavern, had a day off and was looking for a place to watch a football game on a Sunday morning. He drove around town, but nothing was open, so he ended up driving all the way to South Lake Tahoe to watch the game.

“I knew there was a need for a place like this,” Zumwalt said. “We started looking at a few different properties and when this one became available, we decided to jump on it.” He and his business partners, including Carmine Bove and Doug Hartline, found the property near Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge when it was listed for sale. Bove is the founder of the Log Cabin Restaurant in Kings Beach and Hartline is the owner of Hartline Construction.

SIT WITH US: Shadyside’s green booths are a nod to 1950s diners.

The space used to house the long-since shuttered Tahoe Park General Store, which was owned by the Bardelli family for over 25 years. (As a nod to its history, there’s a photo of Henry Bardelli on the wall inside the Shadyside Lounge.) Around the same time, the adjacent property, which was once the Sunnyside Market, also went up for sale, and so the group, which includes additional partners, bought that as well in 2012. They decided to focus their time and money into developing the neighboring property first, and in 2015, the group opened the revamped West Shore Market, which has a coffee counter and deli, as well as bespoke grocery supplies.

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Due to budget and time constraints, the space next door would have to wait; it stayed empty for years. Plans were in the works to open a neighborhood pub there back in 2020, but the Covid pandemic put that on hold. “We knew that wouldn’t be a great time to start a restaurant,” Zumwalt said. In the meantime, they rented the space out as a field station and office for Caltrans employees doing regional roadwork.

Finally, a year-and-a-half ago, the group of co-owners began long-awaited renovations on the space, with Hartline serving as general contractor. The wood used in the rafters and beams was harvested from the 2018 Camp Fire that devastated the town of Paradise, and local resident Presley Doyle from Mint Condition spearheaded the interior design, going for a blend of 1970s après-ski culture and ’50s lounge looks. Inside the Shadyside Lounge, vintage relics, classic photos, and old books line the walls.

For Zumwalt, this means he’s now a co-owner of three thriving Tahoe City businesses, a dream he’s had for as long as he can remember. Zumwalt moved to Tahoe in 2006, leaving a sales job with the Sacramento Kings to chase his dreams of one day owning a restaurant. He began working with the then-owner of the Bridgetender, Chris Park, learning the ins and outs of the business and climbing his way up to general manager. “I moved here for the Bridgetender — that’s where I cut my teeth,” he says. “Eventually, we worked out a way to buy the place.” Park died in 2008, and in 2012, Zumwalt became an owner of the Bridgetender, along with partners Chris Schuster, Kurt Hyatt, and Bove.

Fifteen years later, with the opening of the Shadyside Lounge, he’s adding another restaurant to his empire. “I lived in this neighborhood when I first moved to Tahoe and I live just up the hill now,” Zumwalt said. “The vision for Shadyside Lounge was to create a hole-in-the-wall spot that was cozy and served quality food and drink. It felt like this neighborhood was hungry for it.”

The Shadyside Lounge has a modern Mexican menu created by local chefs Quinten Frye, a James Beard Award semi-finalist, and Sam LeRoque, who most recently served as general manager at Moody’s in Truckee. “The menu is very thought-out. We didn’t want to have a huge menu; we wanted to do a few things and do them well,” Zumwalt added.

THREE’S A CHARM: The trio behind the West Shore’s new Shadyside Lounge, (from left) Scott Zumwalt, Doug Hartline, and Carmine Bove, working on the space’s remodel this summer. Zumwalt is also a co-owner of the Bridgetender with Bove and Chris Schuster, and the three partners own the West Shore Market with Schuster. Courtesy photos

The Nov. 6 opening of the Shadyside Lounge is especially good news for a town that’s seen more than a few businesses and restaurants close up shop recently. Tahoe City restaurants including the Pioneer Cocktail Club, Mediterranean Café, and Pies and Pints have all shut down in the last few months. The Save Mart grocery store closed in October, leaving a vacant space until the new tenant, Safeway, completes a remodel. And last year, the Blue Agave, a popular Mexican restaurant in Tahoe City, closed down after 27 years in business and is still empty despite having been purchased by Evo in 2021.

“The economy has been tough due to housing, staffing, and other factors,” Zumwalt said. “We wanted to help bring the Tahoe City food and drink scene back to what it used to be. Mostly, we’re excited to put something out there that we’re proud of, something we can stand behind. It’s a true labor of love.”

~ Megan Michelson is a freelance journalist based in Tahoe City. Her last story for Moonshine Ink was about over-tourism in Tahoe. She recommends the housemade guacamole and the spicy chicken tinga tacos at the Shadyside Lounge.

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  • Megan Michelson

    Megan Michelson, a Tahoe City-based freelance writer and editor got her start in journalism in Tahoe, then left for a decade to work at Outside Magazine, Skiing Magazine, and espn.com. She returned in 2012 and is teaching her two kids to pick up litter, ski on storm days, and hike farther than they want to.

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