‘We were a family:’ Many memories built at Lakeside Inn over 35 years
Special to The Union
STATELINE, Nev. — Rob Evans has a favorite memory of Lakeside Inn and Casino and it doesn’t involve the good food, birthdays, championship games and big wins at the sportsbook or time spent with friends.
Those all have places in his heart.
But the Zephyr Cove resident remembers going there in 1992 with his 7-year-old daughter for a father/daughter dance.
“It was a dress up affair, on the first floor, before it expanded into a bar and sports book,” said Evans, a frequent player at Lakeside. “There were meeting rooms back then. That night, to my surprise, she hung out and danced with me all night. The tie I wore that night, I saved and wore when I walked her down the aisle on her wedding day in August 2016.”
There are likely similar stories floating all around the South Shore, across Lake Tahoe and far beyond.
After 35 years, Lakeside Inn will not reopen once the coronavirus crisis diminishes.
The favorite casino for locals made it through six presidents, got a close-up view of the Gondola Fire in 2002, survived the Great Recession, but could not make it through a global pandemic.
Lakeside made the announcement last week, and said the closure includes all areas of the business, including the casino, restaurant and hotel.
“It was the absolute worst day of my life to tell 218 employees, that I view as family, that we were closing,” said Lakeside President Stacy Noyes, who has been there for 13 years. “To see the look on their faces, the tears, it was devastating. We have 20- and 30-year employees, and we are loyal to each other. That’s why Lakeside was so special.”
Noyes is in disbelief that the Small Business Association did not protect Lakeside with a loan.
She said Lakeside felt blind-sided, and that it had planned to do everything in its power to reopen after the virus crisis faded. She felt SBA’s decision was “illogical” and hoped there wasn’t something political that went into the decision to exclude their business.
“It’s supposed to take care of businesses like ours,” she said. “We were due to celebrate our 35th anniversary in May.”
Noyes said she wants to help all of Lakeside’s employees find other jobs once businesses reopen.
“These guys are the cream of the crop, they are professionals,” she said.
Noyes said the owners plan to sell the property, all eight acres that includes the land where the Tahoe Beach Club office sits on the corner of Kahle Drive and U.S. Highway 50.
Lakeside is hoping to receive any memories guests would like to share by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It plans to post them on the website at some point for all to read.
Lakeside said in the upcoming days to check the website — http://www.lakesideinn.com — for information on how to cash in slot tickets or table game chips.
“We’ve had a great run for 35 years, and we’re proud to have been part of Tahoe and its changes during that time,” Noyes said. “From Day 1, I knew this place was special, and authentic. We were a family that made it through times together. We’re optimistic that once we get through this, another chapter will open.”
Bill Rozak is the editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union.
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