Carson Peak Inn

Carson Peak Inn offers some of the best ambiance in the Eastern Sierra  ( CarsonPeakInn.com )

Carson Peak Inn offers some of the best ambiance in the Eastern Sierra (CarsonPeakInn.com)

The Carson Peak Inn is a throwback to a bygone era, in the most incredible way—dark green vinyl booths, wood paneling, mounted trout and game birds on the walls, mood lighting, and an old, dark bar. 

The only thing missing are the dirty martinis. CPI, as it’s colloquially known, only serves beer and wine, unfortunately. 

But the food more than makes up for the lack of booze. Their pressure-fried chicken is perfection, they serve Alaskan king crab legs and lobster, and their prime rib is so popular that they frequently run out, so call ahead if you have your heart set on it. 

If you order a full-course meal, be prepared to waddle out. There is soup and (yes, and!) salad, a baked potato, zucchini spear and (again, yes, and!) garlic bread. The buttery salad croutons will be sitting on your table before you arrive, so take care not to fill up on them, they’re that good. Even a la carte options include zucchini and garlic bread. 

They’ve got menu items that you’ll never find nowadays, like chicken liver sauté with mushrooms and onions, and pork chop with applesauce (okay, you might find this one, but it’s just such a quaint combination it bears mentioning). 

They serve ice cream sundaes and sherbet for dessert, as well as New York Cheesecake, and manager Rick Freeman has been there 35 years—he’s seen it all and if he’s not busy, he’ll spend some time at your table telling tales of the days gone by and the ebbs and flows of life and business on the June Lake Loop. 

The classic red-painted building was moved from its original location in the town of June Lake in the 1960s, then purchased by Frank Paul (Judge) Miccolis in 1977. His family has owned the joint ever since. It’s the go-to for celebrations, anniversaries and any occasion that calls for you to treat yourself. 

Carson Peak Inn is located at 5034 Highway 158, June Lake. 760-648-7575.

Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.