edible notables

THE LATEST SCOOP
Keeping you informed of local food-and-drink news.

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL TRAGESH
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY

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Month after month there’s more news to share than we can possibly fit in this column. Our local food community is constantly buzzing with all sorts of exciting new openings, awards and accolades, anniversaries, and celebrations. Keeping up with it all has become quite the task, but you don’t need to worry. We’re serving Edible Updates on a silver platter, so when your friends ask, you’ve got the answers.

Openings

The opening of Monaciello in October, in the former Blue Moon Pizza location on California Avenue in Reno, marks the long-awaited return of locally loved chef Jacob Gordon, formerly of Reno’s Tuscan Tomato. Monaciello is billed as the “The Pizza and Pasta Place,” but you won’t find any red-checkered tablecloths or piles of pasta or parmigiana dishes drowning in red sauce here. Monaciello is a modern, Italian-inspired eatery that boasts house-made pastas, sauces, pizzas, and carefully crafted small plates and entrées featuring local and seasonal ingredients. The nearly floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the dining room in natural light at all times of day while the natural wood tones of the tables bring warmth. A beautiful Tiffany-blue accent wall, made by local company Haus of Reed, brightens the space, making Monaciello the perfect place for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Monaciello is intimate and rapidly increasing in popularity, so get there early.

Burgers at Monaciello
Burgers at Monaciello

If you ask Greg Buchheister about his key to success, he’ll undoubtedly tell you it comes from investing in the right people. From store management to marketing and everything in between, Buchheister has secured some of the industry’s top talents to round out the team, and with them in place, the next logical step was the Coffeebar Roastery, which opened in November. Often roasteries are closed to the public and reserved for production, but Buchheister recognized this facility as an opportunity to create a connection between consumers and their coffee by highlighting Coffeebar’s vertical sourcing practices, the partnerships he’s developed with coffee growers around the world, and the journey coffee takes from seed to cup. The roastery, located in the heart of Midtown Reno on Haskell Street behind Rum Sugar Lime, provides the classic café vibe while immersing guests in the art and science of coffee, inspiring curiosity and inviting everyone to explore coffee on a deeper level.

Coffeebar Roastery. Photo by Cornerstone Photographers
Coffeebar Roastery. Photo by Cornerstone Photographers

Artistically, aesthetically, and technically perfect is how one might describe Perenn Bakery and all of its beautiful baked goods. The bakery and viennoisserie, which opened Nov. 17 in the St. Lawrence Commons in Midtown Reno, truly is a passion project by Tyler and Aubrey O’Laskey, the couple behind catering company Butter + Salt who are Culinary Institute of America graduates. The O’Laskeys have devoted a lot of time and effort to perfecting their baking, going so far as to travel to the Bay Area to train with some of the best in the world. The community has long anticipated this opening, and on the first day, they were greeted by a line down the block. Guests couldn’t wait to get their hands on the perfectly imperfect rustic breads, handcrafted kouign-amanns (Breton-style pastries) and croissants filled with everything from chocolate to baklava filling. Once open, the bakery was sold out in just an hour and a half on day one. From the outside, the front door was a blur as guest after guest emerged carrying beautifully branded, gold-gilded bags and boxes filled with their personal Perenn treasures. Based on this reception, it appears Perenn has a long and successful future ahead, and we couldn’t be happier for the O’Laskeys.


Boule at Perenn Bakery. Photo by Cindy Rahe
Boule at Perenn Bakery. Photo by Cindy Rahe

Whispering Vine Wine Co. opened its fourth location on Nov. 1 in the heart of Midtown at The Sticks shopping center. At the new location, walls are lined with wine racks, part of the signature aesthetic for Whispering Vine. The high ceilings and geometric design give the space an approachable, modern, big-city feel, while the large, open windows looking out toward Virginia Street bring the classic charm, character, and patina of Midtown in for some contrast. Whispering Vine Midtown offers the wine retail program beloved at its other locations, plus a beautiful, full bar with a well-curated wine list and craft cocktail program created by Michael C. Moberly, Whispering Vine’s former spirits program director, making it a great place to gather or to pick up something to be enjoyed at home or with friends.

South Reno is a community full of young families and dual-income households with no children, all of whom are looking for more dining and entertainment options, but choosing which demographic to focus on had seemingly stopped developers in their tracks. The logical solution would be a space that could simultaneously please both — an ambitious undertaking many developers wouldn’t even consider. One group was up to the challenge, and after more than five years of planning, we now have The LOOP, a 20-acre entertainment complex that brings together a group of like-minded businesses to create a social gathering space suitable for everyone.

Rendering of Rounders at The LOOP
Rendering of Rounders at THE LOOP

The first business opened in December: Zeppelin is a 21-and-over restaurant and bar inspired by the inventive spirit of the world’s fairs. Executive chef Jakon Tolhurst helms the kitchen, which serves a menu of shareable plates inspired by flavors from around the globe, meant to bring people together. Adjacent to Zeppelin sits the Zeppelin Conference Center, featuring several meeting salons that can accommodate groups of 25 to more than 300 with high-tech audiovisual equipment, comfortable seating, and delicious food from the restaurant next door.

Too Too cocktail at Zeppelin
Too Too cocktail at Zeppelin

Phase 2 of The LOOP is for the families, with the opening of Rounders, a youth-friendly entertainment center with a state-of-the-art bowling alley, arcade, and roller-skating rink that doubles as a concert venue, as well as an indoor ropes course and private party rooms catered by Zeppelin. Rounders is connected to, yet separated from, Zeppelin, meaning that while the children are at play, parents can sneak next door to enjoy the upscale atmosphere, food, and drink at Zeppelin. The LOOP is off to a great start, but more excitement is on the way, including a partnership with Sportsdome XL (Reno Sportsdome), more corporate meeting and office space, and maybe even a hotel. Stay tuned!

Pine Street, in Downtown Reno, is quickly gaining notoriety as Little Portland, thanks to several Portland-based businesses now calling it home, including Pine State Biscuits. It was started by three homesick Southerners on a quest for the perfect, buttery biscuit in the Pacific Northwest. When they couldn’t find a taste of home in their new one, they set out to make such a biscuit themselves, and after a short stint of sales at local farmers’ markets, the restaurant was born. Reno’s Pine State Biscuits opened in September 2018, making it the fourth for this restaurant group and the first outside the city of Portland. Scaling a business outside your home base isn’t easy, but PSB invested the time and money to solve supply-chain issues and battle Reno’s altitude to create its signature buttery biscuits in The Biggest Little City. If you haven’t been, expect Southern-inspired fare, including shrimp and grits; bodacious biscuit sandwiches topped with buttermilk-brined, Southern-fried chicken; scratch-made sausage and mushroom gravy; collard greens; and more, plus house-made, seasonally inspired desserts, regionally sourced coffee, the South’s beloved Cheerwine soda, cocktails, and more. Don’t skip out on the cinnamon roll.

USDA Prime beef: It’s what’s for dinner inside the former Sterling’s location at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, now that Ruth’s Chris Steak House has opened its doors. Forget about the dark and stuffy steakhouses of yesteryear, as Ruth’s Chris exemplifies the modern steakhouse combining high-class service in a casually elegant environment with a touch of locally inspired, modern flair. Starting with the top 2 percent of the country’s beef, steaks here are done simply: seasoned lightly with salt and pepper before being seared inside an 1,800 degree F broiler, then finished with a basting of butter before being served sizzling on 500-degree F, cast-iron plates so they’ll stay warm throughout your meal. Cocktails, starters, sides, and desserts are treated with the same simplicity, made from scratch daily in house. If you’re looking for a way to experience Ruth’s Chris without committing to a sizeable steak, might we suggest Happy Hour, offered 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri. The menu of $9 appetizers and classic cocktails makes for an excellent experience easily shared with friends.

Carson City’s growing population had Curry Street under construction for the latter part of 2018, bringing with it wider roads and several new developments, one of which now houses The Martin Hotel restaurant. John Arant, owner of The Martin Hotel in Winnemucca, Nev., says it has a large and loyal contingent of Carson City visitors, which had him looking to expand to the city for at least five years. With upscale residences above and select retail at street level, the new Curry Street building was just what he’d been after, placing The Martin in the heart of Downtown Carson City and around the corner from some of the best eateries in the area, including The Union and Battle Born Social. The Carson City location will be open for lunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mon. – Fri., and dinner 4 – 9 p.m. seven days a week. Diners from Reno, Sparks, and Carson City now can enjoy the classic family-style Basque cuisine, served with a healthy side of warm hospitality, just as countless others have done at the original location in Winnemucca since 1898.

Anniversaries and updates

In November, Seven Troughs Distilling Co. celebrated five years in business and marked the occasion with the opening of the Seven Troughs Speakeasy in The Basement, below West Elm in Downtown Reno. Unlike other speakeasies, you won’t need a password to get in here, but you may want a designated driver. Seven Troughs specializes in making whiskey the way it was done during the mid-19th century, specifically here on the Comstock, and you can taste the irreverent spirit of the Wild West in each one it produces. Seven Troughs Speakeasy crafts cocktails around these interesting spirits to let their personalities shine, and, for the purist, tasting flights are available, too. The speakeasy offers a limited menu of small plates to keep your belly full while tasting, and it even serves a waffle brunch on the weekend. Of note is the fact you cannot buy any spirits at the Speakeasy, but you can find them at its distillery in Sparks and at most local retailers.

In October, just three years after a complete remodel and menu overhaul, the Park family sold the Overland Restaurant & Pub in Gardnerville to local restaurateur and chef Mark Estee and partners Nick Meyer, Tommy Linnett, and Tanya McCaffery. The team was drawn to the restaurant’s historic roots and long-standing position in the local community, as well as its physical location in the heart of the Carson Valley. Estee’s cooking philosophy stems from our local bounty, and this restaurant puts the culinary team in close proximity to local farmers and ranchers, such as Bently Ranch and Borda Ranch, with direct access to the best the season has to offer.

Wings at Overland Restaurant Pub
Wings at Overland Restaurant & Pub

We often sing the praises of new establishments, but we also want to congratulate several businesses in the area that have provided consistently delicious food and drink and excellent service for years. The following businesses in our area have recently celebrated anniversaries: Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks and Reno (25 years), Buenos Grill in Reno (20 years), O’Skis Pub & Grille in Sparks (18 years), The Fox Brewpub in Carson City (10 years), and Seven Troughs Distilling Co. in Sparks (5 years).

Our support for long-standing local institutions and all the new concepts and cuisines that have arrived are fueling the explosive and exciting growth we’re seeing in our area. Sharing these great stories and your own experiences with friends and family will inspire others to show their support, too. We’re all an active part of putting the Reno-Tahoe region on the map, and, in so doing, we’re helping our local food community thrive.

Until next time, remember to eat, drink, and support local!

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Michael Tragash is a local food influencer and 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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