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Simplicity at its finest

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Marty’s Café is becoming a breakfast, brunch and lunch institution in Truckee, and this Thursday night, dinner service will begin. Located next to the railroad tracks in the historic loading dock building in Truckee, Marty’s Café is in the heart of the community – and, in just one year, the intimate, ten table eatery has captured the attention, appetites and frequent business of long time locals and Lake Tahoe visitors.

Marty Carlton has been visiting the area for more than thirty years, and when he drove by the quaint space that now houses Marty’s Café and saw a “for lease” sign, he knew it was time to do something good for Truckee. The restaurant opened with breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch in December 2012 and this week adds dinner service on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Carlton promises diners, “Fresh, recognizable, correct and fast…something for everyone.”

The menu is complete with comfort food that does not sacrifice creativity or exquisite flavor. You will recognize the ingredients when you look at the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Breakfast favorites include Huevos Rancheros prepared with black beans, a delicious tomatillos sauce, green chilis and feta (eggs prepared to your liking). I found myself dipping into the sauce and gingerly working my way to the center so I could savor each bite rather than devour it at full speed. The following week I returned for another serving.

People are also returning for the French Toast served with bananas and chocolate fondue, Daily Eggs Benedict – special announced daily, Fried Egg Sandwiches with bacon, gruyere, greens and lemon aioli on French bread, the Green Chile and Chorizo Breakfast Burrito, and Mustard Glazed Ham served with biscuits, country gravy and eggs. Skier’s Daily Bagel Cheese and Egg Sandwich, Oatmeal with brown sugar and bananas, Marty’s house-made granola, and Israeli cous-cous cooked with coconut milk, dried mango, raisings and almonds are also on the breakfast menu.

What’s not to love about the huge sandwiches, burgers and daily gourmet salad specials that can easily satiate two appetites?

Cold and Hot Heros are served on Truckee Sourdough bread. The Philly Steak and Cheese rivals diners’ experiences in Philly, Lisa’s Vegetarian includes well-seasoned peppers, Portobello and squash with dill havarti cheese and pesto and the chicken breast with melted brie, caramelized onions and basil honey mustard has earned a loyal following.

Burgers include Humboldt Fog with Cajon Bacon and Jalapeno relish served with onion straws and the 50 / 50 Ground Burger topped with bacon, cheddar and chipotle ketchup. A steak-style Portabello mushroom burger with Swiss and steak sauce aioli is a great option for vegetarians who want something other than one of the salad specials or a sandwich. And, just ask a local, many come in weekly for one of Marty’s famous Char-Dogs – offered “naked,” Chicago style and BLT Guacamole.

Simplicity at its finest. Classical dishes with a twist. Carlton has reunited with a friend, a veteran chef originally from the Philippines, to bring innovative options to historic downtown Truckee. Expect Japanese and French fusion cuisine influenced by Chef Dana’s work in Guam and Tokyo as well as creative twists on traditional dishes. Favorites like Osso Buco, Coq au Vin and other braised meats, innovative risottos, pastas, sushi and scrumptious desserts are planned for 2014 and beyond. The menu will be small, intimate and welcoming – just like the space.

The small dining space has prompted a hot take out business. Call in your order and enjoy the tasty dishes slope or fireside.

The Chef
Accolades for Carlton and his kitchens from Santa Monica to New England are vast – he’s been the “go-to” chef for former U.S. President George Bush and First Lady Barbara, recognized by Wine Spectator’s “Award for Excellence” (not once, but six times), awarded “The Place to Be” by the LA Times, and the list goes on but, what is most impressive, in addition to the consistently fabulous meals by this professional and his team, is Carlton’s humility and authentic friendliness. It’s common for him to personally greet diners and check in on their dining experience and that contributes to Marty’s Café being such as good fit for Truckee, CA.

Marty’s Café is located at 10115 Donner Pass Road in Truckee and online at For more information call (530) 550-8208.


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