THE LATEST SCOOP
Keeping you informed of local food and drink news.
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL TRAGASH
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY
Our food community is nothing short of incredible. The passion of local restaurateurs, chefs, and farmers — combined with our support of them — has brought national attention to the region; allowed long-loved local businesses to celebrate anniversaries and expand; and brought new concepts, flavors, and experiences to us all. Last year was monumental for Reno-Tahoe, and from where we’re sitting, 2017 will have even more in store. Edible Updates will keep you up to date on all the happenings, so you can share them with family members and friends. But we’d like to encourage each and every one of you to get out and explore the community and share your experiences with others.
From presidential recognition to national awards for local products, Reno-Tahoe businesses are garnering positive attention for the region on a grand scale. We should all be proud.
In October, Nevada Restaurant Association members held their annual awards gala in Las Vegas, where Charlie Abowd, chef/owner of Café at Adele’s in Carson City, was named a finalist for restaurateur of the year. While Abowd did not win in that category, Nevada Restaurant Association members honored his late mother, Adele Abowd, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to the Nevada restaurant industry, tireless advocacy efforts at the legislature on behalf of restaurants statewide, and longstanding membership in the group. Adele was the first woman to receive the NVRA Restaurateur of the Year award in 2001. Charlie was both humbled and honored by this surprise, sentiments he believed would have been echoed by his mother had she been there to accept it herself.
In August, Seven Troughs Distilling Co. in Sparks earned a silver medal for its Distiller’s Select Bloody Mary Mix at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. And in June, its Argentum Gin, a collaboration between Great Basin Brewing Co. and the distillery, won a silver medal in the Seattle International Spirits Awards. Argentum is a slightly sweet gin with roasted malt notes and a lingering citrus finish, a perfect addition to Seven Troughs’ lineup of extraordinarily Nevadan spirits.
When was the last time you heard of a local business being recognized for the impact it made on our global economy?
In May, Kimmie Candy in Reno received the President’s “E” Award for export success, making it the first confectionary business to receive the honor. This is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The award recognizes Kimmie Candy’s sustained commitment to growing export sales (about 20 percent of its annual business), efforts to reformulate products for foreign markets, and job creation to address demand outside the U.S. This award is perfectly timed with the company’s move to its new 47,000-square-foot production plant down the street, which has allowed Kimmie to bring all of its operations, off-site storage, and organic candy manufacturing under one roof. In October, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada also recognized the company with a Corporate Citizen of the Year award.
Fans of Shark Tank may recently have seen familiar faces on the show. Ice Age Meals participated in an episode that aired in late September. The Reno company produces heat-and-eat paleo meals, with sales of $1.5 million since its inception. While the company has been successful to date and shows promise for the future, the $10 million that Ice Age’s owner, Nick Massie (aka Paleo Nick), asked for was just too much for the sharks to swallow this time. But Ice Age certainly is a local business to follow into the future.
Congratulations go to several local business owners as they reach major milestones.
SouthCreek Pizza Co. in South Reno turned 3 in September. After years of working nationally in the pizza tray manufacturing business, owners Mike, Linda, and Ian Madan took the plunge and opened this Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant, which has built a loyal following and become one of the city’s most well-loved restaurants. For their third anniversary, SouthCreek’s owners hosted Noah’s Night Out, a benefit for the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada, organized by Lauren and David Frydman, to bring awareness to and raise funds for those with Down syndrome.
Whispering Vine Wine Co. in Reno celebrated 18 years in business this past October. This business has evolved from being a small wine shop in Northwest Reno to also offering spirits; to adding a bar and retail operation in South Reno; to expanding with a spirits tasting room and full-service restaurant, bar, and retail store in 2016. Owner Curtis Worrall’s commitment to educating consumers about wine and spirits and how to enjoy them has made Whispering Vine a longtime local resource.
In the summer, Tim Curry, owner and roaster at Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Co., celebrated more than 15 years in business. He’s been producing award-winning coffees for all to enjoy. You won’t find timers at his roasting house because Curry insists on doing it all by ear and aroma, which has earned him the name Coffee Whisperer, and we’re fortunate that he’s chosen to do business here in Reno. He’s one of only a few roasters in the U.S. to use a wood-fired roaster, which imparts a distinct flavor to the beans. You can find his coffee in many local restaurants and coffee shops, and you also can purchase it from the roasting house to enjoy at home.
It’s an exciting time to be a food lover in our region, as the restaurant scene continues to expand with the addition of new cuisines, culinary talent and creativity, and opportunities to learn about the amazing people who make it up.
Siu Korean BBQ opened in November in the former BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Co. location on the corner of McCarran Avenue and Prater Way in Sparks. Siu’s owner, Ken Vong, prides himself on offering made-in-house marinades, premium cuts of meat, and banchan, or Korean side dishes. He wants the experience to be approachable and understandable, so he’s included several menu items that will be familiar to American diners such as tri-tip, a house-made barbecue sauce, and even cheese fondue.
Next door, Vong’s Siu Chinese Express aims to be Sparks’ neighborhood place for Asian eats and treats. The menu will feature Chinese-American favorites, Vietnamese- and Korean-inspired dishes, as well as milk tea made from imported Chinese tea and flavored with fresh fruit. It also will include our area’s first offering of frozen snow, an Asian dessert made by finely shaving a frozen mixture of milk and flavoring and covering it with sweet sauces, fresh fruits, and other assorted toppings.
The owner of Reno Food Tours wants you to join her off the eaten path. Melissa Smith, chief eating officer and 25-year Reno resident, launched the business in June as a way to share her love of our exciting culinary scene with others. Currently, two tours are available: Downtown and Midtown & Murals (both in Reno). Tours are about three hours long and take participants on a leisurely, scenic stroll to visit six restaurants for exclusive tastings and opportunities to meet local chefs, restaurateurs, and food artisans.
The making of Lighthouse Coffee Co. is a business success story. Prinz family members opened their first Lighthouse Coffee Co. location on Vista Boulevard and Los Altos Parkway in Sparks. In that spot, they focus on providing an exceptional coffee experience, sharing their passion for the product, offering slow-brew methods (such as pour over and reverse siphon), and featuring specialty coffees roasted in a small-batch roaster. After being a Sparks secret for far too long, family members opened second and third locations, at the Sparks Marina and Winners Crossing (on the corner of Longley Lane and South Virginia Street in South Reno) in July. Joel Prinz roasts the organic coffee served at the three locations, while Melanie, Todd, Joel, and other members of the family ensure guests have a great time.
At Midtown Tacos, chef Josh Berreman is letting his creativity run wild, and his tacos have everyone raving. This new joint is a concept that Berreman has thought about for a long time, and thanks to owners Ivan Fontana and Sadie Bonnette — and some fortuitous timing — it has come to life in the former Midtown Eats location on South Virginia Street in Reno. The menu is simply tacos, beer, and tequila and mezcal cocktails. Pato (duck) al pastor, pork belly carnitas, and even a cheeseburger taco reminiscent of the one you’d find at your favorite fast-food drive-thru are what everyone’s talking about here, but you’ll also find an excellent version of pescado (fish), pollo (chicken), and vegetarian (veggies) on the menu, too. Midtown Tacos is a temporary installation, expected to close in June, so get in while you can.
Butter + Salt’s husband and wife team, Tyler and Aubrey O’Laskey, have two exciting additions to be proud of coming into the new year. In June of 2016, they added a commercial kitchen (on the corner of Longley Lane and McCarran Boulevard in Reno) to their operation, allowing them to serve more clients, take on larger corporate opportunities, and expand into the wholesale and prepared meals sectors. The kitchen also serves as a private event space with character and charm that can be configured to host larger cocktail gatherings and intimate chef’s table dinners utilizing the large, locally made farm table, which can seat up to 15 guests. As proud as they are of the kitchen and the business, in October 2016, pride reached a new height when the couple welcomed their first child, Lucy, into the world. If you stop by the kitchen, you’re likely to see their new bundle of joy.
During the past year of writing edible updates, it has become increasingly difficult to fit all of the exciting stories into each issue. That’s an indication of how far our food community has come, and it has us so excited for where we’re headed as a region. The more we share our wants and desires, the more we’ll see local business owners push the envelope. 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 stories with others.
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.