By Tim Hauserman
At the edge of Incline Village where the Ponderosa Ranch of Bonanza fame used to reside is the Tunnel Creek Cafe. It is situated right at the beginning of the instantly popular new East Shore Trail which travels from the cafe to Sand Harbor, as well as being the terminus of the Spooner to Tunnel Creek mountain bike route which includes the famous Flume Trail. The cafe has just undergone a major remodel to accommodate all the increased traffic they will now be experiencing with the East Shore trails opening.
Tunnel Creek Cafe is owned and operated by Max Jones and his wife Patti McMullan. While running a restaurant is hard work, this might be easy duty compared to running a cross country ski area, which they did for several decades at Spooner Lake Cross Country. The two are also mountain bike fanatics. Jones raced mountain bikes for years and is in the mountain bike hall of fame.
With the coming of the East Shore Trail, they saw an opportunity for expansion and the cafe was being remodeled throughout last winter. Now it has a larger interior as well as plenty of room for guests outside. They serve breakfast and lunch as well as coffee and beer. The menu includes breakfast burritos, protean bowls, pancakes and granola for breakfast and a host of sandwiches, salads and smoothies for lunch.
The Cafe also runs a mountain bike shuttle and rental operation and the outside of the cafe is designed to allow riders to come right up onto the deck and take a seat with their bike. The shuttle operation takes people with their bikes to Spooner Summit or Tahoe Meadows. Riders then ride back to their cars. You can either grab a bite before your ride or after. For information on the shuttle go to flumetrailtahoe.com
Tunnel Creek Cafe’s smallish parking lot sits next to the string of parking lots created next to the new East Shore Trail. The cafe requests that only cafe users use the cafe’s parking lot with a one hour maximum. If you are grabbing a cup of Joe and then heading to Sand Harbor be sure and park in the bike trail parking lots.
For information on the cafe go to tunnelcreekcafe.com