“They don’t ask about the menu anymore, they just want a table” says Woodett’s Diner owner Remon Zamalis. You could say this shift in thought has been quite an arc since he and his family first arrived in Carson Valley only a few years ago in 2021, having taken over Woodett’s Diner, a long-existing beloved restaurant in downtown Gardnerville. One step over the threshold and it’s easy to see new flavors they brought with them—from their French, Greek, and Lebanese culinary backgrounds, by the way—have found a permanent home in the palate’s of Carson Valley visitors and locals alike.
While Remon descends from Greek heritage, he and his wife Christelle’s story all began in France, where Remon studied culinary arts in Paris. In the early 90s after he graduated school, he began to study with another French chef—Christelle’s Dad. By 1994 Remon and Christelle were married, and opened up their own small French restaurant before taking a job in Beirut, Lebanon where he ran an enormous resort as executive chef. People from all walks of life from all around the globe came to this luxury Lebanese resort, and it was here where he was approached to be a private chef for a wealthy family in Houston, TX.
“With a few thousand bucks and a couple of suitcases we went to America to be a private chef,” says Remon. The next 22 years flew by, where Remon worked as a private chef for the Bush family and other high-profile clients in Texas while raising their two children, Dimitri and Carla. But, as soon as the pandemic struck, Remon says he grew tired of the private chef gig and wanted to return to running his own restaurant.
“We used to come to Lake Tahoe to ski, and loved the area around here so we decided to give it a shot after COVID,” says Remon. Once Zamalis’ broker tipped them off about the existing Woodett’s Diner in downtown Gardnerville being up for sale, Remon says he knew it was meant to be. And as soon as the Zalmalis family entered Gardnerville, they instantly fell in love with the town, and what Woodett’s had already become. By October 2021, the place was theirs and Carson Valley became their home.
And since taking ownership and moving Woodett’s story forward, you’ll still see a few old favorites on the menu, along with a whole lotta new worldly flavors. “When we first arrived, I didn’t touch anything on the menu, I didn’t want to change anything,” Remon says. But in the years since, he and his wife Christelle, who runs the front of the house, and his son Dimitri who works alongside him in the kitchen, switch up the menu every few months, playing with new Mediterranean-forward flavors and dishes. “We’ve traveled a lot,” continues Remon. “Everywhere all over Europe and the Middle East—I’ve worked many different places before moving here, which allows us to play with more flavor, food, dishes, and menus. I try to bring as much as I can to this community so we can raise the standard of food and flavor in the Valley.”
Some old classics and new favorites you might find on Woodett’s menu include Huevos Rancheros, Chile Relleno, Club Sandwiches, Burgers and French Dip, along with specialty French crepes and Gyros (typically offered once a week), Pork Missiou, Chinese Salad, and far beyond. Have you tried the bucket nachos yet?! In addition to flavor as mighty as Jobs Peak, Remon brings Bistro Night to the Valley—a monthly set dinner menu with French, Spanish, Italian, and Lebanese influence. Guests can choose from three appetizers, three entrees, and four dessert choices. Past menus include savory dishes like Veal Stew with Mussels and Cream Sauce, Filet Mignon with Paprika, Salmon Tartare, and Creme Brulee, to name a few made-from-scratch items. Also, keep Woodett’s in mind for your catering needs.
So! Whether you’re craving breakfast after an early morning round of golf or before hitting the trails, or are looking to refuel before an afternoon of arts & antiques, or are raising a glass to a day spent learning the Valley’s Western legacies, make sure all your Carson Valley adventures include a stop at Woodett’s in downtown Gardnerville. You’ll be glad you did.
Stop in, say hello, and meet some of our newest members to the Carson Valley culinary.
1492 US HIghway 395 N #101
Gardnerville, NV 89410