Keeping you informed of Northern Nevada’s local food-and-drink news.
The beginning of the year brought plenty of change to the Reno-Sparks food-and-drink scene. As we head into late spring and summer, closures and new openings have both slowed, but the region isn’t without its fair share of updates. In addition to some new eateries to try, several hotspots have made changes, from ownership swaps to temporary space takeovers to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. The biggest changes, however, come from Governor Steve Sisolak, who has proposed lifting many of those limitations affecting Nevada restaurants and bars in Nevada in May, signaling a hopeful return to almost-normalcy in dining rooms across the region. On the horizon also is a slew of new openings delayed by the pandemic that are scheduled for late spring-early summer.
OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS
Beline Carniceria & Deli opened on Lemmon Drive in Lemmon Valley in February. The shop sells Mexican groceries and meats as well as fresh tortas on select days.
Playfield 76 opened in the old Imperial Bar & Lounge on Arlington Avenue in Downtown Reno in March. The 4,500-square-foot barcade will feature arcade and carnival games, craft cocktails and microbrews, and elevated bar bites.
Fourk Kitchen — with its first location in Lincoln, Calif. — is opening a Reno location in May. The veteran-owned business offers a four-course prix-fixe menu at an approachable price point ($49 per person). The experience is reservation only, with just one seating per night.
In April 2020, Nicki Simon started baking scones after losing her job in the pandemic. In November, she started baking and selling her scones at Hub Coffee Roasters under her new business name, Baked by Nicki. In late February, the enterprise was one of two winners of the #RenoLoveLetter campaign, receiving 58 love letters from customers and earning a prize of having $1,000 in gift cards purchased from it and donated to a nonprofit of the owner’s choosing. Simon elected to forward them to local health care workers and teachers. Customers now can order eight-packs of her scones in a variety of flavors through her Facebook page.
Reno Mobile Market is a new business model launched as an extension of the year-round Riverside Farmers’ Market, which is run by Reno nonprofit Local Food Systems. Customers may order products online for pickup at the main Riverside market or one of three additional Reno locations: Virginia Lake Park, Canyon Creek Park, and Damonte Ranch Park. One of the products available through this new service is the MarketBox, a seasonal box packed with a week’s worth of vegetables. Reno Mobile Market also donates them to families in need.
In other local market news, the Raley’s at 18144 Wedge Pkwy. in Reno was recently converted to a Raley’s O-N-E Market, reopening under the new banner on May 1. Raley’s O-N-E Market, the next step in the company’s purpose-driven transformation, offers a unique store experience focused on organics, nutrition, and education and a highly curated assortment of products that are fresh, nutritious, organic when possible, minimally processed, and sustainably sourced.
And in even more market news, Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location, this time in Midtown at the Reno Public Market. The 24,000-square-foot grocery store is scheduled to open on May 12 on East Plumb Lane. The Reno Public Market also houses a Cold Stone Creamery and Port of Subs, as well as a large arts space dedicated to championing the local arts scene. Beloved Truckee brewery and restaurant FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is scheduled to open in the space toward the end of the year.
Rounding out the area market news is the announcement that Dave Asher of Nevada Marketplace was opening his farmers’ market and grocery store, Sierra Foods Market, at Reno Town Mall in the 60,000-square-foot space in April.
Paul Schat’s Bakery opened a second location in Carson Valley in October 2020 to serve the Gardnerville and Minden communities the signature coffees, pastries, and deli sandwiches that have made it loved in Carson City.
The Cake Slice, owned by Michelle Kitchen, now has a Sparks Galleria location, which opened on March 5. At this third location, customers will find Kitchen’s homemade cakes, which are famously available by the slice as well.
Smashin’ Good Time opened last spring on Baring Boulevard in Sparks and has begun to accumulate a local following. In addition to a collection of smash rooms, where people get to wreck breakables with baseball bats, wrenches, hockey sticks, and more for fun, the business also offers axe throwing, including league play, a full bar, and food. Keep an eye on social media for themed nights and other events.
Blackrock Wine Co. is set to open June 1 in the Shops at Bartley Ranch near the Windy Hill area in Reno. The owners will focus on offering wines from around the world and extraordinary small producers in California, Washington, and Oregon. Guests can enjoy on-premise and off-premise choices, including rotating wines by the glass and craft beers as well as cold beer and wine to go. Prepared small plates and snacks also will be available.
Unfortunately, Press Start Arcade & Bar locked its doors in October 2020 after the state said it could not operate as both a bar and an arcade simultaneously due to COVID-19 restrictions. While waiting for a reversal, the Midtown barcade closed permanently.
Ichiban Japanese Steak House officially reopened in Reno’s Eldorado Resort Casino on Feb. 6. Previously, the Japanese restaurant was located inside of Harrah’s Reno.
Beaujolais Bistro in Reno expanded into Hub Coffee Roasters’ Riverside tearoom space to allow for more seating while COVID restrictions limit capacity.
Since March, the space has featured monthly lunch and dinner wine-pairing events. The restaurant will continue to use the area as long as it makes sense for both businesses.
Café Whitney replaced Roundabout Grill at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Downtown Reno in July 2020. The same chef, Christian Flores, is at the helm of the new project, but ownership has shifted to the hotel. The grand opening of the new space was held in April.
Isabel’s Bakery, formerly located on Disc Drive in Sparks, announced on its social media accounts in late 2020 that it was moving to a new location and with a new business format, changing from a bakery to a bistro. A new location has yet to be announced, but owners are hopeful they will move into a new space soon.
The Club at ArrowCreek is in the process of a $40 million remodel. The renovation includes changes to the club; pool; and on-site, members-only restaurants as well as the addition of a private events center on the property that can serve up to 250 guests inside and an additional 500 guests outside, available to the larger community for rent. Esteemed executive chef Leon Teow (from Loews Hotels Co., The InterContinental Hotel Group, and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Florida, among other properties) will head the culinary efforts of both ventures.
It’s looking promising for a 2021 return of Reno Street Food. Steve Schroeder, the organizer, announced that he hopes to revive the event in the late summer.
AWARDS AND MILESTONES
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa was in the news in January for two high distinctions doled out by USA Today. The Reno hotel and spa finished third in the country for Best Casino Outside Las Vegas, and the Atlantis Steakhouse earned the second-highest mark for Best Casino Restaurant. Both of the awards were the highest honors given to any Northern Nevada casino.
The property also received a new health and safety verification from Forbes Travel Guide, designating it as the first property in Reno to be Sharecare Health Security Verified, which covers more than 360 health security standards and helps guests return to travel with peace of mind.
Double Bond Wine’s Discombobulated GSM blend earned a gold designation in the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, citing its impressive score of 90+ points.
BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Co. celebrates a remarkable 35-year anniversary in 2021, after first opening in Sparks in 1986.
Until next time, remember to eat, drink, and support local!
Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. You can follow her local exploits and travel adventures on her Instagram @Wanderlust_n_wine.