Joe Casey Promoted to Chef of Tahoe Donner’s Alder Creek Café
In November 2015, the Alder Creek Café, a restaurant located within the Alder Creek Adventure Center, opened its doors for the first time with Joe Casey acting as kitchen supervisor. Casey has over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, including graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Calif. and cooking at many restaurants in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region, such as Tahoe Donner’s Lodge Restaurant & Pub before helping launch the Alder Creek Café.
Under Casey’s leadership, the restaurant blossomed into a local’s lunch favorite, known for healthy, organic creations that change seasonally. With a popular menu at every turn and regulars coming in daily, Casey was promoted this past November to chef of the Alder Creek Café.
“It was a huge challenge with a new facility and new staff,” said Casey, in recalling the café opening. “It takes time to learn systems and put them in place, but I think the staff we have now is one of our biggest successes.” Casey explained that Debbie Stock, the café’s front of the house supervisor, along with Chris Haun, his second in command in the kitchen, and many others have been a tremendous help this past year.
Going into his second year, today Casey oversees the entire food and beverage operation, including managing the kitchen, designing the menus, overseeing the bar, scheduling employees, cooking, and handling administrative tasks. “Promoting Joe Casey was the next logical step to take,” said Mike Peters, Tahoe Donner’s food and beverage director. “Under Joe’s eye, the restaurant exceeded expectations in 2016. We couldn’t have asked for a better first year and I am excited for what Joe has planned for 2017.”
Recent plans have included a new winter menu that was released on Friday, Dec. 16. The new menu features returning favorites, such as the smoked trout sandwich and veggie panini, and new creations, like the pulled pork sandwich and Italian meatball sub. Casey also recently opened a bakery department within the café and hired Cass Rodriguez, an award-winning baker who introduced her own recipes and specialties to the café, including cherry white chocolate scones and gluten-free dark chocolate chunk muffins, as well as soups and other unique dishes.
Additional plans for the café continue as well. “Our future vision includes offering more to our guests, such as banquets, casual weddings, cocktail parties, and holiday events,” said Casey, who noted every occasion can be customized from start to finish to create the most memorable experience for guests.
To meet their growing demand, the café has also expanded its hours to 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily for the winter season with grab-n-go items, such as Rodriguez’s homemade muffins, available from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Additionally, the restaurant offers an après ski menu at Trailside bar, also located within the Alder Creek Adventure Center and starting on Jan. 7, a free, Saturday night live music series will kick off the New Year with a new artist featured every week from 5-8 p.m. An artist schedule will be posted online soon.
“We’re fresh and fun with a friendly atmosphere,” said Casey. “The facility itself is worth coming in for. TVs, couches, shopping, it’s an all-around nice environment just to be in. And as far as the café, there are a lot of different options for different palates.”
To learn more about the Alder Creek Café or to preview menus, visit www.tahoedonner.com/alder-creek-café.