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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Summer is here, patios around town are hopping, and the temperature isn’t the only thing that’s hot — so is our food-and-drink scene. But don’t take my word for it. Just look at all the new additions, awards, accolades, and anniversaries we celebrate in each of these columns. Keeping up with it all has become quite a task. Fortunately, Edible Updates serves it all up for you on a silver platter in every issue.

A Mammoth acquisition

Did you feel a rumble at the end of April? If so, it undoubtedly came from the footsteps of a giant Mammoth making its way toward Reno. It seems Mammoth Lakes, Calif., can no longer contain Mammoth Brewing Co. On April 22, the company announced its intention to acquire locally beloved Great Basin Brewing Co. Now, as a loyal Great Basin fan myself, I’m here to let you know there’s no need to fret. A long acquisition process is ahead for both brands, but rest assured, sending Great Basin’s brews and restaurants the way of the Icky isn’t part of the plan. In fact, this acquisition is an opportunity to see both of these strong brands, heralded as pioneers in the craft beer movement, grow more than ever before. We’ll be keeping you updated as this develops.

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From left, Tom Young, owner of Great Basin Brewing Co., and Sean Turner, owner of Mammoth Brewing Co.

The Rail City is rocking

Over the past year, Downtown Sparks truly has become a place people want to live, work, and play. Businesses are moving in quickly, elevating and enhancing the area with exciting new concepts and lifestyle amenities for the whole community. In March, Sparks welcomed Engine 8 Urban Winery — the first of its kind in Sparks — right next to the new Galaxy Theatres in the heart of Victorian Square. Owners Mike and Wendi Rawson, Nevada natives and longstanding Sparks residents, left corporate roles to pursue business ownership and bring something new to the community they love. Engine 8 offers winery tours, wine flights, wines by the glass, and charcuterie spreads that add to the wine -drinking experience. Engine 8 is the perfect addition to a night out in Victorian Square, which can include a meal at any one of the great new eateries in the area, a movie at Galaxy Theatres, craft pints at the new Piñon Bottle, an artist’s experience at the newest location of Picasso & Wine, and A-list entertainment at the new 8,500-seat Nugget Event Center!

Something is spinning in Sparks — to be more specific, skewered tri-tip and chicken, which are slowly rotating over a carefully controlled fire at Golden Rotisserie’s second area location, which opened in March in Victorian Square. While getting rotisserie right may seem easy, it’s not. It takes an experienced hand to achieve the proper balance of magical marinades, time, temperature, and rotation that results in that intoxicating aroma and delicious, golden-brown exterior. Golden Rotisserie’s reputation precedes it, as it’s already enjoyed several successful years in Truckee. I’m personally excited to have this cuisine in our community because it’s a new, healthy, wholesome meal perfect for picnics at the lake and a great grab-and-go option for families, too.

Gorge like gauchos

Brazil is a lot more than beaches and bathing suits. It has rugged cattle country and cowboys, too! They’re called gauchos, and their notoriously large appetites are responsible for a centuries-old cooking style called churrasco. Large hunks of meat are lightly seasoned and cooked over an open fire. Then they’re brought to your table and served rodizio style, aka sliced with the sword on which they were cooked. Churrasco restaurants are enjoyed as much for their meat offerings as they are for their elaborate spreads of salads and small bites, which many opt for as their meal. Churrasco, the first Brazilian restaurant to open in Reno in 15 years, promises to offer this experience in spades, allowing diners to come in and enjoy a true Brazilian experience, or a lighter meal, one that even vegetarians can enjoy. Churrasco will be opening soon at 425 S. Virginia St., at the corner of Liberty Street in the former Creazian location. Given its previous track record, some will call this location cursed, but nothing can keep us from enjoying our favorite eats. If Churrasco can win hearts in our community, our support will allow it to thrive where others could not.

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Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse's ribeye is served "rodizio" style

Will it be the B.O.M.?

Would you believe the developers behind the renovations of Shoppers Square and the construction of the 25,000-square-foot food hall within once considered naming it The B.O.M., aka Bottom of Midtown? In January, they announced the project would be named Reno Public Market, and things have been full speed ahead ever since. Renderings of the space have been released, and in February, it was announced that Steve Schroeder (creator of Reno Street Food/Food Truck Friday) would head up restaurant recruitment. In late March, we learned that FiftyFifty Brewing Co. would anchor the development with a 9,000-square-foot brewery/taproom/event space, and the market will showcase a specialty organic grocer. It’s scheduled to open in 2020; more announcements are coming soon. Reno Public Market is an exciting project to watch and, when completed, will be a fantastic addition to our scene.

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Rendering of the latest design of Reno Public Market

Rancharrah update

Everyone has their eyes on the reboot of Rancharrah, Bill Harrah’s former estate, which is being developed into a 141-acre master-planned community complete with luxurious, gated neighborhoods; an exclusive, resort-style country club; and world-class equestrian stables. While you may need to pass an FBI background check to visit your friends who call Rancharrah home, you won’t have to for the shopping and dining options within The Village at Rancharrah, and in April, the first group of tenants was confirmed, bringing some heavy hitters to South Reno: Süp (second location); Centro Bar & Restaurant(second location); Coffeebar(third Reno location); and Waterfront Restaurant, a new enterprise by Tom Turner, owner of Gar Woods Grill & Pier, Riva Grill, and several other iconic Tahoe eateries, who brings his lakefront fun and flair to Reno. Also confirmed is Chez Vous, a women’s lifestyle, clothing, and baby boutique; and Dolce Vida Wellness Spa, a popular South Reno spa that will get a significant upgrade in its new digs at The Village at Rancharrah.

Coffee continues to crush

As if Coffeebar weren’t already busy enough getting ready to open its new Reno location at Rancharrah, it’s also been operating a regional roasting facility since November that sits in a narrow Midtown alley sandwiched between Virginia and Haskell streets. Coffeebar Roastery provides coffee for all of the Coffeebar cafés in Reno, Truckee, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and, soon, Rancharrah. The roastery is a place for unfiltered conversation and education, so visitors are encouraged to come ask questions and learn while enjoying their coffee. If you’re there on the right day, you also can watch the roasters creating the next batch of Coffeebar’s signature single-origin coffees or beloved house blends. The roastery still is a hidden gem, but just follow the smell of freshly roasted coffee coming from behind Rum Sugar Lime and Pizzava, and you’ll have found the spot.

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Coffeebar Roastery. Photo by Cornerstone Photographers

“Serving coffee. Serving community.” That’s the motto at Code Coffee on Wells Avenue in Reno, and this principle guides all it does. Destinee Sanford, owner, considers the community and those who serve it as family, and she created Code Coffee as a place to bring them together. She designed the business to meet the needs of public servants, including paramedics, police officers, hospital workers, and all other professionals who work to keep our community operating safely. In fact, all first responders and military personnel (past or present) receive a 20 percent discount at any visit. Don’t come looking for latte art or frilly garnishes, but do come in search of classic coffee beverages, easy-to-enjoy meals, and, above all else, community.

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Destinee Sanford founded Code Coffee in Reno with the mission of supporting police officers and other public servants

Spice up your swing

There’s an exciting new way to golf year round in the Sierra, with some tasty bites to accompany the experience. In April, Topgolf opened its first Swing Suite next to El Jefe’s Cantina inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. Swing Suite offers guests the opportunity to virtually golf in the comfort of one of four luxurious bays, with access to a full bar offering specialty cocktails and a creative food menu, including chili-dusted calamari, Bavarian pretzels, and freshly fried churros coming from the kitchen at El Jefe’s. Hockey sticks mixed in with golf clubs had us thinking about Happy Gilmore, but it turns out that in addition to the classic Topgolf driving range, the interactive system also offers Zombie Dodgeball, hockey shootouts, and more, creating a lot of fun for those of us who can’t swing a club!

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Topgolf Swing Suite at Silver Legacy Resort Casino

Grateful for good neighbors

In April, Great Full Gardenswas awarded the 2019 Restaurant Neighbor Award from the National Restaurant Association, for the work that it’s doing with local nonprofit RootEd. RootEd, or Root Education, helps local communities to bring greenhouses to K-12 schools, homeless shelters, or other nonprofits or community gardens, teach those involved how to be self-sufficient and produce abundant crops, and spread their newfound knowledge of gardening and sustainability even further through “Free Salad Fridays” and student-run seedling sales. The Restaurant Neighbor Award was developed in partnership with American Express. It highlights outstanding local and national charitable service and philanthropy. Each RNA winner receives a $10,000 contribution in its name to support the charitable organization or program of its choice.

Hope you’re hungry

Top-notch, grass-fed burgers from Tahoe City are taking over Midtown Reno with the arrival of Fat Cat Bar and Grill’s newest location. Fat Cat boasts burgers that tower as tall as the peaks around the lake, topped with extraordinary combinations that have the community buzzing. The beef burgers start with at least one half-pound grass-fed beef patty from Minden’s Bently Ranch. That’s where the fun begins. The signature Ridge Burger is stacked with sautéed onions and Swiss cheese, then a solid swipe of bacon beer jam. The North Lake Surf and Turf brings together the Bently Ranch patty, avocado, and blackened crawfish tails. If you’re feeling sweet and sassy on a Saturday or Sunday, you can enjoy a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed donuts. But it’s Fat Cat’s Burger of the Month that really gets people talking. Take, for example, April’s Nevada-Fornia: a Bently Ranch beef patty topped with homemade chicharrones, salsa, and pickled carrots. Add in a side of house-made chips, onion rings, or freshly cut fries served Fat Cat style (garlic Parmesan, gorgonzola mushroom, or buffalo blue cheese) and you’re going to need a fat cat nap to immediately follow.

Let’s wine together

They say sipping wine is good for creativity. Fortunately for us, the Reno-Tahoe area is home to a few businesses that offer us appropriate outlets for enjoying both! In April, Candle Vino opened in the Plumgate shopping center in Reno. It combines the art of making handmade candles and soaps with wine tasting. Bring some friends; order some wine or a drink from the full beverage menu; pick your containers, colors, and fragrances; then pour and personalize your candle before taking it home. Best of all, there’s a 100 percent recycle program that allows you to bring your container back to be refilled for just $5!

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At Candle Vino, guests make their own candles and soaps

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The Candle Vino staff serves guests from a full beverage menu and helps them pour and personalize their own candles

If you prefer your wine in the great outdoors, head up Mt. Rose Highway and stop in at The Lodge Coffee + Winebar before or after hitting the trail. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the building formerly housed The Lodge at Galena before Tom Burkhart, a Bay Area transplant, purchased the land along Mt. Rose Highway about three years ago. Burkhart’s intention was to create a community space to bring people together, and he hired Debby Bullentini, a wine industry professional and former owner of L’uva Bella Wine Gallery at The Summit, to operate it. The space is naturally lit and warmed by mountain-themed accents. Bullentini has assembled a carefully curated selection of wines, which are available in flights and glasses from the bar and by the bottle, to be enjoyed at The Lodge or elsewhere. It also has a small menu of craft cocktails, beer, and kombuchas that rotate regularly. The Lodge Coffee + Wine bar is the perfect starting or ending point for adventures at North Lake and Incline Village, so add it to your list.

Our patronage at longstanding local institutions and all of the new concepts and cuisines that have arrived support the exciting growth we’re seeing in Reno-Tahoe. Sharing these great stories and your own experiences with others will inspire them 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!

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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