Archive for the ‘Donner Lake Kitchen’ Tag

Summer Fun at Donner Lake, Truckee CA   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi


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Sunset at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi


Let’s face it, the big blue, Lake Tahoe, tends to get most of the attention and press during our busy summer months. But right here in Truckee is Donner Lake, chock full of fun things to do in a much less busy environment.

I’ve lived here off and on for years, and what’s nice about the area is that when crazy holiday weekends descend, I don’t have to venture very far for food and fun. Instead of fighting the crowds, I can hoof it to most anything I might want to do, including finding basic sustenance.


Take a bike ride. The bike trails are well defined along Donner Pass Road and goes most of the way around the lake. You can continue on through the campgrounds at Donner Memorial State Park to get back to Donner Pass Road.

Go Fishing! There is a dedicated fishing pier and handicapped ramp about half way down Donner Pass Road along the lake. Or try your luck off of the many public piers. Make sure to pick up your California fishing license online.

Have a picnic. Near the Fishing pier is a picnic area right on the lake complete with picnic tables and grills. Picnic areas are also available at Donner Memorial State Park. Plan ahead and come early, these spots fill up fast.

Go for a swim. Dunking oneself  in Donner Lake during blistering hot days is a given, but many have been the evenings when the temperature doesn’t drop with the sun and my place still feels like a stuffy broiler. On those occasions, nothing is more refreshing than donning my bathing attire and taking a moonlight dip.


Kayaking at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Kayaking at an inlet at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi


Rent a kayak or paddle board at Donner Memorial State Park. The water in the mornings at Donner Lake are often a crystal clear glass calm. It’s the perfect time to ply the waters without fighting the waves whipped up by the winds, or even jet skis and boats.

Go for a boat ride. Donner Lake’s Marina is one of the few areas still deep enough in the Lake Tahoe basin despite the drought to launch your boat.  Or you can call ahead to rent a pontoon boat ride.

Go Camping. Donner Memorial Park’s campground is right near the lake and features pleasant campsites, bathrooms and actual showers! The campground also hosts many campground events during the summer. Visit for more info.


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Coldstream Canyon. Photo by Michelle Portesi


Go for a Hike. You can take a leisurely hike on the trails throughout Donner Memorial State Park, or for a little more effort, Coldstream Canyon starts at the east end of Donner Lake Campgound. Follow the creek over easy to moderate terrain to back country ponds and environmental reclamation sites. See Go Take a Hike # 4 for more info on this hike.


Sunset over Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Sunset over Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi


Get Yourself Some History. The new memorial museum at Donner State Park has reopened with new exhibits about the area’s history.

Just Hang Out. Read a book, sunbath, play fetch with your dog, have a glass of wine, watch the sun set. There are a wealth of public piers all along the north side of Donner Lake along Donner Pass Road just perfect for doing absolutely nothing.

If you’re a resident of Tahoe Donner, you can laze away the summer days at the Tahoe Donner Beach. There’s a snack bar and rental concessions for kayaks and paddle boats.


Dock at Tahoe Donner Beach area. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Dock at Tahoe Donner Beach area. Photo by Michelle Portesi


Don’t want to venture into town for food and/or a few items? Then you’ll be grateful for these businesses:

STICKS MARKET. Located about a mile from Donner Memorial Park is Sticks Market, featuring fresh made deli sandwiches, espresso drinks and a generous selection of wines, beer and other beverages along with the usual basic staples. They even have a fairly decent array of meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables if you just need a few items and don’t want to fight the crowds in town for them. For a small little market, they pack in quite a bit.

DONNER LAKE KITCHEN.  Known for serving breakfast and lunch, now during the summer, they are open Saturday evenings too. They will be featuring ‘Oysters on the Deck’ from 2-8 pm and also serving dinner, including steaks, burgers and sandwiches from 4-8 pm.

You’ll always find plenty to do at Donner Lake!


Welcome Back Donner Lake Kitchen!   2 comments

By Michelle Portesi


Donner Kitchen

Donner Lake Kitchen


Whether I’ve lived in a small town or a large city, I’ve always been enamored of the idea of just being able to walk someplace for breakfast. Fortunately for me, that desire is fulfilled, as a block down the street is the re-established Donner Lake Kitchen.

I’ve eaten at the original version of the restaurant, continued to dine at the new reincarnation when it became the Old Hwy 40 Kitchen and Grill, and back again to the Original Donner Lake Kitchen owned by Kelley and Bill Money. I won’t re-create the wheel here by writing about how all of this came about, as The Sierra Sun has already published an excellent article on the whole journey.  To read more about it, go here:


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Grab a seat by a sunny window



What I will say, is that the food has always been excellent, the portions HUGE, and the prices reasonable…for a resort town anyway.  While the fare at The Old Hwy. 40 version was tasty, their menu was fairly limited.  I suspect as a result, the restaurant suffered from not being able to attract that much needed local population when the tourists had all gone home.

That’s not the case with the Donner Lake Kitchen. The menu is expansive, they serve breakfast all day, and as far as owner Kelley is concerned, should you want something special that isn’t on the menu, if they have the items on hand to make it – within reason, a little deviation from the norm is just fine by her.  From what I’ve seen, the locals have welcomed them back with open arms, and they seem to attract a fairly steady stream of patrons.


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Cinnamon Rolls! Ooey, Gooey, Chewy Goodness!


I’ve had both breakfast and lunch here, met with friends for a lively meal, or just relished a quiet breakfast alone at the counter, newspaper or magazine in one hand, coffee in the other. The atmosphere is Funky Tahoe Casual, the service friendly and the food, always fresh and good.


The Donner Lake Kitchen is located at  13710 Donner Pass Road – behind Sticks Market.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Follow them on Facebook: Donner-Lake-Kitchen


Donner Kitchen Menu





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Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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