edible updates

THE LATEST SCOOP

Keeping you informed of local food and drink news.

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL TRAGASH
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY

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It’s an absolutely incredible time to live in this region. We’re only a couple months into the year, and our food community is abuzz with activity. Anniversaries, new openings, and expansions of local favorites are happening at such a rapid pace, it’s hard to keep up, and there’s a lot more on the horizon.

Artisanal expansions

The third wave of coffee has washed over Reno, bringing with it baristas and coffee shop owners who want to elevate the humble bean to an artisanal level. Old World Coffee Lab has been a big part of this movement locally, bringing us exceptional, regionally roasted coffee and teaching us all how to enjoy it a little bit more. In mid-November, its owners switched that up, opening their own roastery in South Reno, all in an effort to get closer to the source and elevate their commitment to quality. Their shop on California Avenue now exclusively serves their signature roasts and sells them to be enjoyed at home, too.

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Thanks to businesses such as this, today’s Reno coffee culture easily can be compared to that of Portland and San Francisco. In fact, it’s starting to attract popular shops from those cities, too.

In late November, See See Motor Coffee, a Portland transplant, opened its doors on Pine Street, across from the newly opened Patagonia outlet. Part coffee bar, part motorcycle art gallery, and part moto fashion shop, See See is a hip, cool, urban spot to gather. Large windows allow natural light to brighten the space, and the exposed brick, rusted metal, and motorcycles give it a mildly gritty, garage vibe. See See serves Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee, a Portland staple, in a variety of classic espresso drinks, as well daily drip offerings, tea, and breakfast sandwiches.

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Other cities are taking note of Reno-Tahoe’s vibrant population and bringing their delicious treats to our community. The Baked Bear, a beloved ice cream sandwich shop from San Diego, now has two locations here — the first, in Sparks (on the corner of Prater Way and Sparks Boulevard), opened this past September, and the second opened in South Reno (at South Virginia Street and Neil Road, next to Blind Onion) at the end of November. Baked Bear employees create custom ice cream sandwiches with original-recipe ice cream flavors and your choice of fresh, baked-in-house cookies and brownies. There’s no need to make up your mind either. Feel free to pick different cookies for the top and bottom. Make sure to have your sandwich hot pressed, too. There’s just something about warm cookies and cool, creamy ice cream.

Locals also are getting in on the action. Walden’s Coffeehouse, a West Reno hangout, brought its family-friendly flavor to the Wells Avenue neighborhood in December 2016 with the opening of a second location (where now defunct Dandelion Deli once stood). Walden’s owners, Michael and Mandy Barone, have built a successful following by treating guests as friends and serving delicious house-roasted coffee, sandwiches, scrambles, and soups. In just a few short months, Walden’s on Wells has become a popular neighborhood hangout.

Burger Me, which started with one location in Truckee, just opened its third location at The Summit in South Reno. This locally loved, fast-casual burger restaurant focuses on serving real, fresh, natural food, sourcing as much of its products as possible from local businesses such as Truckee Sourdough Co., Sierra Meat & Seafood, and Sierra Valley Farms.

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Mellow Fellow, also originating in Truckee, is growing, too. The store’s third location, in Virginia City, opened at the beginning of August 2016, and its Reno location (opened April 2015) received a menu update courtesy of chef Clint Jolly at the beginning of December. Owner Ryan Eller’s close relationships with some of the best breweries in the nation have helped Mellow Fellow become known for offering some of the most distinctive and hard-to-find beers around. Ryan was ready for Mellow Fellow’s food to be worthy of his high-caliber beers. The new menu, some of which will change seasonally, features shareable snacks such as chicharrón nachos (nachos topped with fried pork skins) and crispy ribs served with house barbecue or harissa and honey sauces, an all-new selection of house-made sausages, and Big Plates with items such as the Yucatecan-style roasted pork with harissa, chimichurri, black bean succotash, roasted sweet peppers, and homemade slaw.

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As Downtown Reno’s tri-resort properties navigate a massive merger, the properties’ food and beverage operations are making great strides. In November 2016, chef Ivano Centemeri was promoted to executive chef of the Eldorado Resort Casino, leaving his longstanding post at the helm of La Strada for the second time in 20 years. Centemeri’s passion is to share culture through food, and he’s proud of his ability to create dishes that balance the traditions of Italian cuisine and the American palate. In just a few months, Centemeri already has opened Hidden Pizza (an East Coast-style pizzeria across from The Brew Brothers), and he’s looking forward to applying new techniques and putting a fresh spin on food, property wide.

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The flavors of Eastern Europe are alive once again in Reno with the opening of Bazaar European Deli & Café. Located in the shopping center adjacent to the Atlantis Casino Resort on South Virginia Street, the small store divides its space between a café/deli and a market selling dry goods and prepared foods from Russia, Poland, Armenia, Serbia, and Romania. The café serves a small menu of Eastern European specialties, including borscht (beet stew), Siberian pelmeni (dumplings filled with beef), and Russian blinchiki, which are similar to crêpes but thicker, with sweet or savory fillings.

Anniversaries

Growth, in terms of openings and expansion, certainly is a clear sign our food scene is thriving, but so is the longevity and continued success of our community staples.

Dish Café & Catering celebrated 14 years in business on Nov. 21, 2016. That’s 14 years of award-winning catering; Cowgirl sandwiches; and handcrafted, baked goodies from the little shop on Mill Street in Reno. Congratulations Nancy, Joe, and your entire team!

Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village celebrated its second year in business this past December. We have loved its carefully crafted rotating selection of balanced beers that exemplify its style, which is inspired by food, music, and the beautiful Lake Tahoe environment that surrounds it.

Rapscallion Seafood House & Bar in Reno is celebrating 40 years on May 18 this year. Rapscallion, designed by famed architect Pat Kuleto, hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1977, and for the last 40 years, it has been a local favorite for fresh seafood and classic ambiance.

Craft Wine & Beer, Midtown Reno’s first bottle shop, turned six at the end of December. That’s six years of commitment to small-production, hard-to-find, easy-to-enjoy wines, beers, and spirits and helping our community appreciate them one at a time.

PJ & Co., a Wells Avenue mainstay since 1987, celebrates 30 years in business on March 20, 2017. For 30 years, PJ’s has been serving up big breakfasts, beefy burgers, and ice-cold beers and cocktails (a great bloody mary, for one) to the Reno community and beyond. Here’s to 30 more.

The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery celebrated two years in business on Dec. 31, 2016. In just a short time, The Depot has made a name for itself in Reno and beyond, with legions of loyal fans and awards for its spirits at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. We have two more years until its owners release what’s in their big barrels, but that means more time to enjoy the Biggest Little Bourbon, the Ranch Hand, and all that delicious food to go with it.

We’re really happy to be able to keep you up to date on all the happenings, and we want to encourage you to share what you learn with family and friends. So get out there and explore. While you’re at it, take the time to learn a bit more about each business you visit and share that story with others, too.

Michael Tragash is our local community director with Yelp.com. He’s passionate about connecting people to all the useful, funky, and cool businesses and happenings in the Reno-Tahoe region. You usually can find him exploring the local food and drink scene or the natural beauty that surrounds us.

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