Mission Impossible? The $5 Meal at Lake Tahoe

Food, Things to Do — By christinanellemann on June 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

In a resort town like Lake Tahoe, you can be hard pressed to find an inexpensive and filling meal for a low price. Of course, anyone can go to a fast food restaurant, or on the Nevada side, there are usually casino specials for $1.99 pancakes or eggs or $2.99 hot dogs and beer. However, if you want a full meal at a locally owned restaurant, you may have to search around…or ask a local.

That was my goal this last weekend, to find a meal for the price of an Abraham Lincoln. My criteria was simple: it had to be filling, it had to fuel me up for the outdoor activities I enjoy at the lake and it had to be served all day. I think I found it. What’s the one meal you can eat all day? Breakfast.

"The Usual" at the Red Hut Café

The Red Hut Café in South Lake Tahoe (and the original Red Hut Waffle Shop farther to the West) serve what they call “the Usual”. For $4.99 you get two eggs anyway you want, two biscuits with gravy, and hash browns. Notice that this dish doesn’t include any meat. This is pure carbo-loading which is perfect for a day of hiking, biking and swimming or even more perfect for after a day of skiing or boarding. Seriously, the biscuits and gravy may have been some of the best I’ve ever eaten…and I’ve been to the southern U.S.

The red-roofed building was hopping on a Saturday around lunchtime. It’s a sparkly clean diner with red bar stools, red booths, a red ski lift on the ceiling and red retro signs advertising Coke, Dr. Pepper and RC Cola. There’s even a sign that says there’s a five dollar charge for whining. The front of the diner is a soda shop that serves classic shakes and ice cream. The wait staff was friendly and fast and most of them still retain the skill of loading several plates onto their forearms.

You can find other restaurants in town where you can get a cup of soup or salad for under five dollars, but for a stomach-filling meal you can get all day, “the Usual” is a pretty good deal.

Food photo courtesy of the author. Red Hut photo courtesy of Red Hut Café.

Tags: biscuits, breakfast, cheap, diner, eating, eggs, favorite, Food, local, lunch, tahoe, thrifty

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