OverviewPerhaps not by official USGS measures, but in my book the Whoa Nelli Deli is the "highpoint" of Mono County. Offering panoramic views of beautiful Mono Lake, and unassumingly ensconsed inside the Tioga Gas Mart, this pinnacle of culinary achievement offers gastronomic wonders to the hardiest of mountaineers, backcountry skiers, fisherman and (sadly) the RV crowd. No trip to Tuolumne/Tioga/Mammoth area is complete without a visit to the summit. Simply put, the Whoa Nelli is an institution.
Whoa Nelli is quite popular with the summitpost crowd. Our own Bob Burd with Chef Matt "Tioga" Toomey:
Getting ThereThe Tioga Gas Mart is conveniently located at the intersection of US 395 and CA 120, just a hair south of the quaint hamlet of Lee Vining. Drive south from Reno, north from LA or east from SF until your olfactory senses detect the divine aroma of buffalo meatloaf and bleifrei petrol.
Red TapeNo permits are required. Don't forget to hit the ATM, however, as the Whoa Nelli's summit fees (aka menu prices) are incongruant with its location inside a fuel dispensery.
When To ClimbWhoa Nelli is best experienced from late April through the end of summer. In early season, the place is mobbed with backcountry skiers and fishermen fresh off of their forays into the Virginia Lakes and Tioga areas. In high summer season, the place is usually full of some combination of climbers, hikers, fishermen, RV'ers, drifters, highway patrolmen and budding trapeze artists.
On some busy weekends, they have even been known to have bands at the gas mart. Here's the scene from Memorial Day 2004
CampingLots of NF campgrounds in the area, plus outstanding bandit camping in the Tioga/Lee Vining area. Proximity to the gas mart is key, as it permits a breakfast run prior to climbing/skiing/driving home.
Mountain ConditionsConditions are generally clean, well lit and congenial. Sometimes when it is crowded, things can get hectic but service is accomplished in a swift and efficient manner. On a recent trip, we had the pleasure of being barked at by Tioga Toomey himself ("NEXT IN LINE PLEASE!!!"), who likes to keep things moving. Good thing too, cuz the place was friggin' packed.
The BathroomWhile I'm sure Tioga Gas Mart management doesn't look kindly on the practice, the bathrooms at the Mobil station serve incredibly well for "dirtbag showers". Two nice sinks, spaced generously apart, with twin towel dispensers. Bring your toothbrush, scrub your face and get clean. Rumor has it that the women who work at the gas mart are attractive, so the importance of a quick clean up should not be discounted.
Trip ReportsBill Dunn
MenuFrom the home page
Huge Sandwiches To Go, Whoa Nelli
From the Great American BBQ
Cowboy Steak Sandwich
With French wine herb butter on a French roll. The best in the west.
Sierra BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Huckleberry BBQ sauce.
1/2 lb. Angus Hamburger
With or without cheese
1/4 lb. Hot Dog
A true American classic.
Grilled portabella mushroom, eggplant, squash, peppers and onions on a bun. Yummy…a true delight.
Specialty Pizza made fresh daily, including our famous BBQ Chicken Pizza. It's what Pizza should be like! Available whole or by the slice.
Soup Du Jour
By the slice.
Tioga Toomey's Specials ~ Highly Recommended:
One fish taco with mango plum pineapple salsa, the other with ginger coleslaw, served with Brazilian black beans.
Caesar Wrap with Grilled Chicken
Wrapped in chipotle tortilla.
Baby lettuce with grilled salmon and honey wild berry vinaigrette.
Extra lean grilled cowboy style with port wine au jus, garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.
Kansas City Steak Caesar Salad
Marinated skirt steak on our tangy caesar salad. The one Mike Sweeney asks for!
Legendary Lobster Taquitos
Three taquitos on a bed of Brazilian black beans with tomatillo pineapple salsa and salad.
Pork Tenderloin Dinner
With apricot wild berry glaze, garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.
St. Louis Ribs
Huckleberry BBQ sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.
Ragin Cajun chicken Jambalaya
Served with bread, a meal in itself, not too spicy.
Tioga Egg Sandwich
Egg, Bacon, Cheese.
Cheese Omelets served with Tioga Taters or Toast
Add the following: Mushroom, onion, ham, bell pepper, smoked trout, tomato, sausage, bacon.
Two Eggs Any Style
With Tioga Taters and toast. With bacon or sausage.
Cowboy Steak & Eggs
With Tioga Taters and toast.
Ham & Cheese Croissant
Bagel with Cream Cheese
Smoked Trout Bagel
Muesli with Fruit
Relax people...This page is a friendly joke. Vote me no stars all you want. It don'matta to me. Anyone who skis and climbs in the Sierra will appreciate the joke.
- climber.org TR: "Lee Vining Mobil Station Restaurant - and Starlight Pinnacle"
Review of Whoa Nelli Deli