A slice of Carson City history is back.
Penguin tacos, the specialty of one of the city’s most beloved former landmarks, are now on the menu at the Westside Pour House.
On the first Tuesday of every month the Telegraph Street establishment will be offering the tacos based on the original recipe from the Penguin Drive-In, the popular diner located at the corner of Sophia and Carson streets that closed in 1997.
“The recipe is in my head,” said Ann Petersen, who with her husband Pete and partners Mercy and Howard Pyle owned and operated the drive-in until it closed.
Petersen’s son Chris and Pour House co-owner Rowan Colgan are childhood friends with their own fond memories of the Penguin.
“I was a sophomore and Chris was a senior and we used to rush up to the Penguin for lunch and try to make it back to school,” said Colgan.
Then, the tacos were $1.35 each or $1.50 for a super taco.
What was super about it?
“Sour cream,” said Chris Petersen.
The friends thought for years it would be fun to bring the tacos back, then a few weeks back Lucas Vine, Pour House co-owner, said let’s do it.
They approached Ann Petersen, who’s the sole remaining Penguin owner since her husband and Howard Pyle passed away and Mercy Pyle moved out of state. Gary Borst Sr., who owned the Penguin for five years before selling to the Pyles, still lives in Carson City.
“I said we’d like your blessing and grace to do the Penguin taco,” said Vine.
“I said ‘Fine, let the customers have their tacos back. They yell at me from their cars about them,’” said Petersen. “It’s been closed 20 years and people haven’t forgotten.”
One of those who remembers them well, and the milk shakes made with fresh fruit, is Mayor Bob Crowell.
“Penguin tacos were the best tacos. My mouth is watering,” said Crowell. “I can picture myself standing in front of the window to order them.”
A handful of former workers Ann Petersen has stayed in touch with likely remember, too.
“All these ladies that worked there are now grandmas. I can’t believe it,” she said.
The Penguin tacos, two for $5, will be available the first Tuesday of every month starting March 7.
“From 11:30 a.m. until we sell out,” said Colgan.
The Westside Pour House is located at 110 W. Telegraph St.