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November 25, 2013 | Tim Hauserman
For many folks at Tahoe, Sunnyside’s Wednesday Fish Taco nights are another one of those things that make Tahoe a great place to be. What could be better than hanging at Sunnyside with several hundred of your buds eating awesome half priced fish tacos? Not only is the food great, but taco nights are also a meet and greet extravaganza.
Taco nights began simply enough in the early 90s as an off-season promotion idea that manager Ox and then Sunnyside Chef Lee Kresy came up with while attending a meeting in Solana Beach (I’ve heard a rumor that Jeff Ox actually has a much longer last name, but nobody is quite sure what it is). They visited a bar/restaurant in Del Mar that as Ox says was “packed to the gills with guests enjoying fish tacos and drinking beer.” Being no dummies, they realized this concept would be successful at Sunnyside. That is a great understatement. Ox says that on busy nights they stuff over 250 pounds of fish into as many as 1000 tacos.
Once fish tacos became a Tahoe food tradition, another idea came to mind to use tacos for the greater good. Hey, they thought, what if all these people that are coming here to buy tacos anyway, could also help out some worthwhile Tahoe area causes? So they began selling raffle tickets for prizes like day passes to Homewood Mountain Resort, skis and other good stuff. And the raffle ticket sales money would go to a community organization. And of course, the brilliance of the plan, is that those community organizations would then contact their supporters and urge them to show up, have some fun, buy tacos and buy raffle tickets. We are talking a win-win-win (at least) situation here.
The organizations who take part have found taco night to be a great opportunity to support their causes. For example, one night last year, it was the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Education Association’s turn. That’s the group that brings us Strider-Gliders, Free Skiing for Schools and the Winter Discovery Center. Association Director Valli Murnane says, “We raised over $1000 dollars to help support our programs. Ox, Raif and the Sunnyside crew are always so incredibly supportive of the work we do.” And by the way, perhaps the best part, a good time was had by all.