South Lake Tahoe, Calif. — A hometown restaurant made a national splash on April 10 when veteran travel and food writer Larry Olmsted tipped his hat to The Red Hut in his USA Today column.
Olmsted visited the 56-year-old café, digging into its origins as a donut ship and praising its food and style.
“Red Hut is everything you want in a breakfast joint: good food, lots of it, unique house specialties, charm and exceptionally friendly service from everyone on the team,” Olmsted writes in his column.
Owned by Stateline’s Gardner family, the restaurant has locations on Kingsbury Grade, Ski Run Boulevard, Carson City and Reno,
Red Hut veteran manager Dawn McDermott said Olmsted’s column hit the nail on the head.
“He understood it was an old school diner and locals still come,” McDermott said at the original Lake Tahoe Boulevard Red Hut on April 13.
Olmsted’s column mentions some of the signature dishes cooked up at the diners, including the bacon waffles, jalapeño bacon, pancakes and burgers.
“Everything about the Red Hut is quintessential greasy spoon – the kind everyone wants in their town,” Olmsted writes in his column.
McDermott has been with Red Hut for 18 years, starting out at the Kingsbury cafe before helping to open Carson Valley and Reno sites. She recently returned to resume management of the original site.
Red Hut moved to its current location in 1959 after the original donut shop moved two-and-a-half miles from its Stateline location. In 1984, the original owners sold it to the Gardner family, who had been loyal customers for 20 years.
McDermott said things snowballed from there when the second location on Kingsbury Grade in 1990, the Ski Run Boulevard site in 2009, the Carson City restaurant in 2011 and the Reno shop in 2012.
“I don’t think we would have the other Red Huts if we didn’t have the original to start with,” McDermott said. “It’s still in the original decor and everything.”