It always feels good to celebrate milestones, and there are two biggies this week, commencing with the observation of Harveys Lake Tahoe’s Sage Room as it turns an amazing 70, not only old in restaurant years but downright unequaled in casino restaurant years. Harveys began as Harveys (never was a possessive) Wagon Wheel Saloon and Gambling Hall on Highway 50 in 1944, opened by Harvey Gross, a meat retailer from Sacramento. At first, food service was limited to sandwiches Gross’ wife would bring from home and sell at the lunch counter.
The Sage Room certainly changed all that, opening in 1947 with a touch of elegance and a classic steak house menu, Western-themed with Native American lampshades (gifts from the Washoe Tribe) and hand-hewn beams (that are still present). The Sage Room is the oldest continuous restaurant operation of its kind in Northern Nevada.
Down in Reno, Harrah’s is celebrating its humble beginnings as a bingo operation that Bill Harrah opened on Oct. 30, 1937, on Center Street. It lasted only two months but, undaunted, Harrah opened another a block away the following July and slowly began accumulating properties. The then-Golden Hotel was gobbled up, allowing the opening of the Headliner Room in 1966 with Eddie Fisher. The tower was built in 1969 and opened with Danny Thomas and Mitzi Gaynor. Altogether that’s 80 continuous years of growth and operation and a special cake will be cut and served to celebrate the anniversary Friday on Harrah’s Plaza. How special? It will be 80 feet long.
Speaking of longevity, there may be some singers out there who have been with a group longer than founding member Tony Butala has been with the Lettermen, but there certainly aren’t many. The Lettermen started in 1961 and turned out a steady flow of hits like “The Way You Look Tonight,” “When I Fall in Love,” “Goin’ out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” While musical tastes changed, their audiences stuck with them and Butala has always valued showmanship and an ever-changing menu of songs in the group’s live performances, as will be evidenced Saturday at Thunder Valley (7:30 p.m.; $29.95-$39.95; thundervalleyresort.com).
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Other veterans this week include Peter Cetera, who wrote Chicago’s first No. 1 hit “If You Leave Me Now” and has had a pretty good solo career with songs like “Glory of Love” (Cache Creek Friday and Saturday; 8 p.m.; $75-$99; cachecreek.com). And blues master Elvin Bishop joins the Fabulous Thunderbirds for a walloping wall of sound Saturday at the MontBleu (8 p.m.; $25-$45; Ticketmaster).