Tahoe friends open smash burger and brews joint in Incline Village
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The North Lake Tahoe community of Incline Village has a new burger joint in town, and though its menu may be small, the buzz it’s generating is anything but.
Inclined Burgers and Brews opened up this fall in the former Barjay’s Gourmet Diner location next to T’s Mesquite Rotisserie.
Owners Mitch Penning and Scott Beck have been friends for more than 30 years, and the idea of starting a business together was something they’d talked about frequently over the years.
“We’ve always wanted to have a business together,” said Penning, who has called Incline Village home for the last 10 years. “This location has always been on my radar, and when it became available, we jumped on it right away.”
Over the years the business partners have worked in hospitality around the world, from Hawaii to boats on the open sea, so they were well versed in the industry. Together they crafted a menu for their restaurant that focuses on making just a few dishes, but doing them all well.
“We’ve always been proponents of keeping it simple so you can execute every time,” said Beck. “Do one thing, do it really well. We knew this was a perfect spot for that streamlined menu, and burgers have always been something that we love.”
The menu features just three burger options — a single, double and veggie — topped with lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, cheddar cheese and a secret house sauce on a sesame seed bun.
“The uniqueness is probably the cuts of meat that go in. We use sirloin, chuck and short rib from Sierra Meat Company. We get the beef fresh and we ball them by hand. There are no pre-formed patties,” explained Penning.
The burger balls are smashed on the griddle and topped with raw onions that begin to caramelize and flavor the meat. A flip of the burger gets the onions directly on the heat, creating the flavor and texture indicative of the Oklahoma-style fried onion burger.
The menu is rounded out with a mixed green salad entrée and regular or garlic fries (topped with garlic salt, fresh minced garlic, parmesan and parsley).
“They are on-par with the fries at AT&T Park,” said Penning.
Draft and bottled beer, along with wine, is also available.
With less than a month of business under their belt, Beck says the reception in Incline Village has been “shocking.”
“It’s blown our minds beyond expectation. The people. The support that we’ve gotten from the community to help and guide us and advise us on what their experience has been,” said Beck.
“People have gone out of their way to hype it up on their own,” added Penning. “You never guess that’s going to happen, and we’re just extremely grateful.”
Longtime journalist Steve Ranson, editor emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News — a sister publication of the NNBW — has published the 280-page book “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War.”