Former Tomaato’s eatery at North Tahoe evolving with new name, owners
Fumo Wood Fired Eatery Lake Tahoe is open Wednesday through Monday for breakfast, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., and dinner, 5-9 p.m. Find a menu and information at fumotahoe.com.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Patrons at the longtime restaurant Tomaato’s will likely notice some recent changes — and more are in store.
About five weeks ago, the restaurant in the Country Club Mall reopened under a new name, Fumo Wood Fired Eatery Lake Tahoe, and started opening for breakfast.
The change is part of what Nellie Saia described as evolution in process. Saia and her husband, Jonas, purchased Tomaato’s about 18 months ago.
They ran the longtime restaurant, specializing in pizzas and pastas, “as is” up until just recently, when they decided to act on a series of changes.
Along with the new name — Fumo is Italian for smoke — the couple has added breakfast, a move they say has been well received by patrons.
Since the closure of Wildflower Cafe in October, the Incline Village and Crystal Bay area has been left with few options for breakfast.
The breakfast menu includes staples such as pancakes and “cheddar cheese biscuits and gravy,” as well as creative offerings such as “the local,” charred ribeye and béarnaise, served with potatoes Dianne and two eggs.
Fumo continues to serve pizza and pasta — a fact the couple hopes to convey to some customers who might be confused by the new name and the additional of breakfast.
The Saias also have started adding more “sharable” plates to the dinner menu, which they plan on continuing to do through the exploratory process of tweaking the menu.
They also plan to remodel the space in early 2019 — the exact dates hinge on Tahoe’s notoriously tricky permitting process — and build out the bar to include specialty cocktails and other mixed drinks.
“It’s evolving,” Nellie noted. “We’re super excited.”
The restaurant business is nothing new for the Saias.
Five years ago, the couple purchased Austin’s Restaurant, and they implemented a similar style to that being employed at Fumo. They remodeled the space, kept the staples, added some new menu items, and found success.
Before entering the world of restaurant ownership, the couple worked in the industry: Jonas was a bartender and Nellie was a waitress at Lone Eagle Grille. After settling down, having their first child and moving to Reno, the couple decided they wanted to make it back to Tahoe. When Austin’s went on the market, the Saias saw their opening.
A little while after that, Tomaato’s went on the marke,t and the Saias saw another opportunity — one with roots back to Jonas’ childhood.
“We always wanted an Italian restaurant, but not traditional Italian — something more nuanced,” said Jonas, who started working at 14 in his father’s pizzeria in Georgia.
In Tomaato’s they saw “lots of potential” in achieving that “nuanced” Italian restaurant, added Nellie.
And about 18 months after buying the place, the Saias are moving toward realizing that potential.
Per the agreement, Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s for the first half of 2020 before it’s redeveloped into a non-gaming hotel and mixed-use development.