MEET YOUR MERCHANT: Auld Dubliner partners expand with new Mexican restaurant
Special to The Union
Tremigo Mexican Kitchen
1850 Village South Road No. 52
Olympic Valley, California
TRUCKEE — Owners of longtime local and visitor favorite, Auld Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant, have expanded into new territory, opening a Mexican restaurant in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Situated near Auld Dubliner, Tremigo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar opened Dec. 22 and brings several familiar faces from the pub to the new restaurant.
“It made sense to have something right next door where you can literally run back and forth all day,” said owner Carolyn Nunn. “But it needed to be something completely different than the pub, and Mexican seemed like a perfect fit.”
Nunn was part of the group that opened the Auld Dubliner 15 years ago, and since taking full ownership, has long kept an employee-first approach in running the business.
Among the first people hired at Auld Dubliner was Randy Rogers, who was brought on 15 years ago as a bar back. He quickly transitioned to bartender, then to bar manager, and after Nunn left to open Fat Cat Bar & Grill in Tahoe City, he became a partner at the Auld Dubliner.
“What I wanted to do, eventually, was to own a place of my own,” said Rogers on being named a partner. “I didn’t want to leave the Dubliner … it kept me where I wanted to be. I have a family and so it really helped out.”
Another longtime employee, Rachel Graf-McCabe, was also recently named a partner at the Auld Dubliner, having moved from bar manager to floor manager before becoming the group’s third partner.
“All I can say is, I can’t do it without them. There’s so many reasons to have them as my partners — one is we’re all great friends,” said Nunn. “I’ve always believed in promoting from within. This was the extreme end of that in a way, but these guys are amazing.”
From soap to sopas
For several years, the Auld Dubliner partners had been eyeing the location of Tremigo, which was formerly the Mamasake sushi space.
After the space was vacated, the group got the opportunity from Squaw to expand the village’s offerings with a Mexican restaurant, and signed a lease just ahead of the winter ski season.
In order to create the new restaurant’s menu, the group turned to Auld Dubliner chef Antonio Abundiz and his family.
Abundiz was hired roughly six years ago as a dishwasher, and eventually worked his way up to executive chef.
“He had the drive and the willingness … and he worked his way up really fast,” said Rogers. “When we needed a new head chef, we thought he’d be perfect, because he’s the one that’s worked the hardest for the job.”
Abundiz, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and his family often cooked traditional Mexican food for employee parties, and so when the opportunity arose to open a Mexican restaurant in the village, he was a natural choice.
“It was like, ‘We should make this food somewhere,’” said Rogers on the employee gatherings.
“We just kind of transferred him. We hired another guy (Matt Turner) to take his position, and Antonio, his wife Veronica, and their son joined us.”
From there, they turned the reins over in the kitchen to the Abundiz family, allowing them to craft a menu for the new restaurant, which features fresh-made traditional Mexican dishes that include combination platters, fajitas, tacos and more.
“We definitely went for a traditional menu,” said Nunn. “We listened to our chefs a lot. They had a ton of ideas.”
Scramble to open
Upon signing the lease with Squaw, the ownership group had roughly four months before the holiday season hit, bringing with it some of the largest crowds of the year to the village.
With the help of B.C. Construction, the entire space was renovated with new paint and new windows on the outside and a complete remodel of the interior.
“Everything in this place from ceiling to floors was replaced,” said Nunn.
Local artist Rory Canfield was brought in to paint a mural on one of the walls, and also to design Aztec-style art for the interior pillars.
After rushing to complete work on the restaurant, the owners received their health permit on the afternoon of Dec. 21, and decided to open the following day.
Employees from the Auld Dubliner were sent over, and as the number of patrons grew, the restaurant had to open its back room to accommodate more guests.
All in all, Nunn said the hurried opening was a success, crediting her employees for making it happen.
“I think we were amazed we pulled it off,” said Nunn. “That was so much because of our employees that knew their job so well.”
The ability to move workers from the Auld Dubliner to Tremigo with little notice, according to Graf-McCabe, was made possible by having so many longtime employees at the pub. That familiarity has also endeared the location to locals as it approaches 15 years in the village this May.
“We treat our employees really well,” said Graf-McCabe. “We treat them like family. We feel like family. We treat the locals like family, too. They know everyone’s faces.”
In the coming days Tremigo is expecting to receive its liquor license, allowing for tequila and Mezcal offerings. Check Tremigo’s social media or website for the upcoming announcement.
Moving forward, the restaurant plans to expand its patio dining, have live music, and open its private room to business meetings, wedding rehearsals, and other small gatherings.
For more information on Tremigo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, visit http://www.TremigoTahoe.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.
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