Enjoy our Guest Author Series featuring a new, bi-monthly article written by historians, authors and poets on topics related to local history and/or museum collections. Stay informed on new research and new stories associated with our museum!
This May we welcome historical research on Tahoe English Village (today known as Swiss Lakewood restaurant) and Bacchi's restaurant. Our resident archivist and historian, Nancy Stromswold did extensive research on the origins of these historical restaurants and buildings. Our new exhibit "Do You Remember?" celebrates North Tahoe restaurants of the past and present and we have highlighted Tahoe English Village and Bacchi's in our display. Stop by the museum and learn more about the origins of Prusso's, Phifer House, The Tahoe Inn and more!
Tahoe English Village & Bacchi's
Nancy is an archivist and historian at North Lake Tahoe Historical Society. Nancy is also a huge contributor to
Homewood's Volunteer Ski Patrol program.
Tahoe English Village circa 1930's
Bacchi's Circa 1930
Tahoe English Village
Lakeside Lodge Swiss Lakewood
The original building and cottages on the property in Homewood were built by 1933 with a replica of a Dutch windmill in front and named the Tahoe English Village.
In 1938, the Mantifels were divorced, the property was auctioned off and bought by Mr. and Mrs. C. Tolefsen who also owned the Big Chief Lodge along the Truckee River. Other partners were involved until the Tolefson’s sold the Lakewood Lodge to Fred and Anna Ruth Cunningham in February 1945. The annual invitational “Feast of Friendship” dinner served opening weekend to locals by Fred and Anna Ruth was a two-evening event and well appreciated by locals who were fortunate enough to attend. The original Tahoe English Village was demolished in 1943 from a tree falling on the building.
Fred Cunningham sold the restaurant to Jesse Taylor in February of 1964. But Jesse was in Homewood for only a year because he died of a heart attack in October of 1964.
In 1965 Peewee and Milos Smika bought the property, fashioned the building to look like a Swiss chalet, and renamed it Swiss Lakewood. Helga and Albert Marty were partners with the Smikas from 1973 to 2002 with Albert serving as the Executive Master chef.
In 2009 Rick and Betty Brown bought Swiss Lakewood. In 2021 the Browns undertook major interior renovations and added outdoor seating in the Vodka Garden where the original Tahoe English Village windmill building once stood.
In 1932 George and Josephine Bacchi opened their doors in Lake Forest to home cooked, family-style Italian dinners.
George and Josephine immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1905, settled in Sacramento, and first came to Tahoe in 1927. They started with a fruit and vegetable stand during the summer in Tahoe City, and Josephine catered homemade ravioli, chicken cacciatore and other entrees for wealthy Lake Tahoe homeowners. Josephine’s legendary cooking was recognized by Laura Knight of the Wychwood Estate near Dollar Point (later of Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm) who encouraged her to open a restaurant.
The original log cabin restaurant was named “Flori D’Italia” and included a store that was made from logs milled at Bob Watson’s mill in Lake Forest. Two gas pumps in front served passing motorists, and Josephine cooked in the tiny kitchen to serve handmade ravioli and chicken dinners. The cabin changed over the years with the addition of a stone front, fireplace, and an expanded dining room, but the bar in the front was still the original log cabin.
Josephine’s daughter Sara and her husband William Hunter took over Bacchi’s in 1949 and operated the restaurant until Sara died in 1978. Sarah and William’s son, Bill Hunter, and his wife Heidi, operated the restaurant from 1978 until Heidi’s death in 2012. Bill and his son Everett partnered to keep the Bacchi family restaurant and traditions alive for 10 more years until 2022.
Bacchi’s was host to locals, tourists, celebrities, and international visitors. In 1960 they hosted the entire Italian Winter Olympic team for dinner. Known mafia members regularly visited Lake Tahoe, and Bacchi’s was a favorite for dinner. Other famous faces included Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Peter Graves, and Lucille Ball.
Four generations of the Bacchi family cooked and served Italian dinners in Lake Forest for 90 years. They closed without fanfare on September 11, 2022 and the property was sold in November 2022; it will not reopen as a restaurant.