blue coyote squaw valley

KSL bought the Blue Coyote restaurant in the Village at Squaw Valley in May, 2011. This purchase is one small part of the overall land/property grab that KSL is executing as a part of their plan to fix up Squaw & sell it in the next 5-10 years.


- Squaw Corp. owns all the lower-end food at Squaw:  Taco Express, Poolside Cafe, 39 North, The Arc, Burger Express, etc.

- All the Good Foods at Squaw are self run concessions:  Wildflour, Northern Lights, Mamasake, Fireside Pizza, Blue Coyote, etc.

village at squaw valley

The Main Concern:

With Squaw in charge of Blue Coyote, will they screw up the food at Blue Coyote?

KSL took control of  the Village when they bought Squaw (Squaw bought the Village about a year ago) and they switched all the restaurants and shops to a ONE YEAR LEASE system. It’s very hard to plan for a successful business on a one year lease.  In addition to that KSL raised rents to a level that some shops and restaurants couldn’t afford (see Blue Coyote).  This was strategically done to make available the most desirable locations to KSL. For example:  Tait’s boardshop.

Tait’s was a successful boardshop right in the middle of the Village with one of the best locations. KSL priced them out of their lease and Tait’s is now gone for good. KSL offered them the same lease they had before, but in a lousy location back near Uncorked where traffic would be much lower and business would clearly suffer.

The Blue Coyote arguably has the best location of any business in the Village at Squaw Valley.

tram face squaw valleyPart of the view from one of the better locations in the Village.

The Blue Coyote had been negotiating their lease with KSL for months. At some point they realized they were not going to be able to work with KSL on their leasing prices.  KSL then thought it wise to purchase the Blue Coyote in Squaw outright, including their liquor license.

What Will Be Different at Blue Coyote:

- Employees will be DRUG TESTED now.  GOOD!  My waiter better not be doing un-harmful drugs in his free time!!!!

- KSL owns it now, so Squaw employees will be able to eat there for 1/2 off.

- They will be adding breakfast to their existing lunch & dinner.

- New Managers.  The former Managers were owners and will be gone.

- Employees will no longer get a shifter (free drink) after their shift is over.

One of the reasons it’s good to eat at the Blue Coyote….it’s close to this.

What Will Stay the Same at The Blue Coyote:

- KSL bought everything:  The liquor license, the restaurant equipment, everything, so all that will stay consistent

- The employees have interviewed with KSL/Squaw Corp. and most retained their jobs if they wanted to

- Customers likely won’t notice anything if the food can stay good.

One of the bummers about this take-over is that the former managers were good people and were great to their employees and the employees enjoyed working for them.  There could be different feelings with Squaw Corp.’s Food & Beverage Managers.

KSL bought the Blue Coyote in the month of May.  The Blue Coyotes’ lease was up on May 1st, 2011.  They will re-open on June 17th, 2011.  Likely without a liquor license at first because, as of a week ago, they hadn’tposted the liquor license in the window, which has to be done for 1 month before they can serve booze.

The Blue Coyote in Truckee will be absolutely unaffected by this.  They will continue to run and operate under the same owners/managers as before.

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  1. Harry Paratestes says:

    This is what happens in Village environments, local entrepreneurs take lots of risk opening a business in a Village environment and then once the business plan is proven successful the lessor raises the rents until the business owner calls it quits. I hate when local business go away, kind of steals the heart out of the community. Look out Squaw Valley Sport Shop and Le Chamois, you guys have the best locations at Squaw. Whens the lease up?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible to screw up frozen Cisco food?

  3. Colin says:

    I would imagine they’ll have to change the name, no?

  4. Stephen A says:

    I miss the Blue Onion. The staff ruled and it was a super-friendly place to hang with a cup of coffee before a day of shredding.

  5. gary says:

    let’s not forget about another squaw valley staple..granite chief!!! for the first time in decades there is no chief in the valley..only in truckee. sad.

  6. BruHa says:

    Interesting that KSL tried to get Tait’s to move to the ghetto of the village, in what I can only assume would have been the Village location of Granite Chief.
    That location sucked for Herb, the boys and their customers since it was as far away in the village as you could get from the lifts.
    When Herb spec’d out the location, it was with the intention of being in a prime locale for the phase 2 construction of a 200 room hotel and the rerouting of the drop-off area from near the Cable Car to the area below the shop.
    Would have been sweet!
    So yeah, phase 2 is a long forgotten dream, and Herb never truly realized the income that could have come his way and would have allowed the legacy of Granite Chief to prosper and thrive.
    Damn shame!
    Granite Chief was the first of the longtime tenants that suffered from the intended rent increases and moved out early in the summer of 2010.
    Did you notice the space remained vacant (and still is)? Probably not, since you most likely get into the parking lot early enough that you don’t have to hoof it from the dark alley where Granite Chief used to be.
    Did you know that for quite awhile this past season, KSL had “retail space available” listings posted on Craigslist? Craigslist for chrisake!
    It’s truly tragic that Granite Chief is gone from the village and at this point seems never to return. Their professionally trained and expert staff (and ripping skiers) were missed in the village this past season. There were a few longtime customers that traveled to the Truckee store to work with the guys that they have longstanding relationships with, but by and large, most did not.
    Again, tragic.
    It’s such a shame that KSL is so short sighted, but being the spawn of KKR, who kinda invented the leveraged buy-out, it comes as no surprise. I get that their primary function is to profit, and do it as fast as they can before they cut and run, but the impact on the veteran guests and hardcore Squaw crowd that frequented the businesses that are being priced out of the village is wrong in so many ways.

  7. TenseBayAreaGuy2 - TBAG2 says:

    So much of this article is based on the faulty premise that the velveeta nachos and still-frozen chicken strips at the Blue Coyote somehow qualify as “good food” whose quality needs to be maintained. I would be concerned if KSL bought out susan at the cookie shop, but taking over the Blue Coyo has more potential for upside than down. Even a hooters or god forbid a longhorn saloon would be an improvement in there. at least the scenery would improve

    • Shlammy says:


    • Kevin D says:

      Good points!

    • gary says:

      i vote hooters!!

    • the point is... says:

      First, let me say, excellent article and great reporting. Secondly, to you the disenfranchised commenter, your missing the point! It’s not about how much you dug the nachos or even your personal opinion on the cheese steak. This is about local people, owning local businesses. How much do you love Tahoe? Isn’t it your dream to live here with a reasonable income and perhaps a business of your own? Don’t we all want to break free of the typical and inconsistent service job and perhaps make enough to buy a home or have a family? For people that have an actual interest in this “resort”, this “community” (for fuck sake MY HOME) doesn’t it make sense to have some variety? Do we want a bland Walmart experience or do we want successful and talented locals to succeed? Dog store by SQUAW, Blue Coyote by SQUAW, whats next? KSL will transform the village into an bland and predictable experience, running out local business owners to make way for corporate plastic bullshit. Perhaps that works for tourists and part time house owners but its not a victory for full time locals. In fact, it a travesty and a sad sign of the times. This is not just a ski mountain. This is my home and I will not sit idly by and watch big corporate interests play god. I’m not saying there aren’t improvements to be made, but certainly not at the expense of the local, the small business owner, the employers, the blood and spit of our little community.

  8. Kevin D says:

    I think much of this post is misguided and misinformed. First, The Arc and 39 Degrees North were BOTH run by a concessionaire previously and quite poorly to the point of AWFUL…Tom O’Neil, I believe ran them. The food now is pretty darn good and both bars are better and well staffed. Secondly, nobody can predict what will happen in five years, including Squaw/KSL, so to say that they are “just going to improve it and flip it” is a rumor with no basis in fact. The market will dicate what happens and sound business decisions will be made. The Blue Coyote is a fun place to see and be seen, decent service, and cold beer. The food? Meh??? Good but not great. The infamous Le Chamois, aka “Did ya see me?!” is an awful floor plan both upstairs and down and unfortunately will probably survive, but could be way better and still have the outside deck with a much improved inside eating area and a better and more spacious loft bar where you could actually get served more than one beer per hour…Certainly not having Granite Chief is a loss and I have a feeling they will be back someday. At least we do have great places like Fireside Pizza, Auld Dubliner, Mamasake, Cornice Cantina, Wildflower, and Starbucks. The owner of The Blue Onion is not sad to be gone. He still operates in Kings Beach and works for Squaw part time. Remember, before the Village, we had almost NOTHING. Things are better than they appear and there’s always room for a mix of establishments.

    • scrotie mcboogerballs says:

      “At least we do have great places like Fireside Pizza, Auld Dubliner, Mamasake, Cornice Cantina, Wildflower, and Starbucks.”

      Outside of Mamasake which of these is a “Great place”? The Auld Dubliner blows and their Bartenders need to get off their high horse.

      • Kevin D says:

        I like them all for different reasons. I guess it’s subjective. I always have good food and service at Fireside, and the others as well. I certainly remember when there was almost no place to eat, have a coffee, or drink after skiing. Uncorked is also a cool hang if you like a quiet wine bar. Before it was just Plaza Bar, Bar One, and Salsa. I’m thankful for what we have and think it will continue to get better.

  9. `Mamasake a strong decent. Wild flour great, susan awsome, fire side can’t make decent pizza on a conveyer belt oven, cheap fucking ass hole owner, look at the decor. bistro 22, burned Fro as he was dieing promissing much and delivering nothing. any one who steps in bistro 22 deserves to give their money to those pieses of s*(*(*(t. Dubliner who would set foot in that place?Chamois , Institution, Jr. and the wife are cool, but not as cool as Rockey and Pablo. Jimmy King and Curtis Crooks make the fun you have a possibility. Don’t know them, bummer for you. Frank

  10. John says:

    KSL does NOT won the Village. They get 36 condo votes, that is all. FAOA and 22 Station own the buildings, and many of the owners are long time Squaw people.

    Will Trilogy be the next to pack up? Ask Andy!

    Blue Coyote food was “4/10″. Maybe KSL can up-grade! Most important, Blue Coyote has TVs tuned to see NHL hockey games….. Maybe Andy can upgrade the food to be on par with mid-mountain offerings at Steamboat..

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