Keeping you informed of Northern Nevada’s local food-and-drink news.
Looking for ideas on where to eat out this fall? Between local favorites celebrating big wins and new establishments opening their doors, we have plenty of ideas for where you can dine in the coming months. Read on for a collection of noteworthy additions, location changes, and much more, so you can start making your culinary bucket list, whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, or dessert!
When one door closes, another one opens, and for the Reno restaurant industry that couldn’t be truer. New Reno businesses are whipping open their doors as quickly as possible, and as a result, this summer brought some worthy new eateries and second locations to the scene.
Operating since 2018 in Midtown Reno, Perenn Bakery opened another location at The Village at Rancharrah in Reno on June 26, selling its popular pastries, breads, and breakfast and lunch plates daily. A third location in South Lake Tahoe is in the works.
Opened in June, Paolo’s Deli pays homage to Paolo Gaspari, the renowned Reno chef and restaurateur who made his name conceptualizing great Italian restaurants in the area, including La Famiglia, Portofino (now Mario’s Portofino), and Paolo’s Deli, which he opened 30 years ago and sold before the last owner closed it. Paolo’s original deli, which existed just across the street, is now located on Moana Lane next to Bouchée Confections and Coffee & Comics, and features a range of fresh Italian sandwiches, salads, to-go dishes, and grocery items, and is owned and operated by Paolo’s nephew Jason Winters.
Old Southwest Social House opened on July 26 in the old Truckee River Bar & Grill location on California Avenue. The new bar and grill features a full restaurant and bar as well as gaming options for guests.
Also on California Avenue, Mark Estee’s newest food venture is Pizzeria Lupo, a pizza and ice cream joint featuring sweets from Tahoe Creamery. As part of the concept, the wall between the pizzeria and The Loving Cup bar next door was taken down so patrons can grab a cocktail to enjoy with dinner or dessert. Opened on June 25, Pizzeria Lupo marks the sixth eatery in Estee’s empire and the third pizza place to take up residence at that location in 15 years.
In February, Holly Waffles opened its Midtown Reno location after moving here from Guadalajara, Mexico. You can enjoy crunchy Belgian waffle concoctions served out of the colorful food truck outside Z Bar. It’s mostly a late-night spot, starting service at 5 p.m. and often feeding guests until the early hours of the morning.
Reno welcomed another rooftop bar to the city. Matador Lounge opened on July 8 in the California Avenue location previously occupied by St. James Infirmary. Dennis Leary, a San Francisco barkeep and restaurateur, is behind the project, bringing some Spanish culture to the rooftop while staying true to Reno tradition.
Meanwhile in Carson Valley, Genoa Bar and Saloon got an exciting addition in June when the area’s newest food truck, Hungry Hearts, moved onto the historic bar’s property. The mobile eatery specializes in burgers crafted using a “smash” method of cooking and serves its goods to the community Friday through Sunday, then donates 10 percent of proceeds to local community nonprofit organizations serving children.
And more news came for Carson Valley when Carson City’s Shoe Tree Brewing Co. opened a second location in Minden. On May 17 the brewery’s owners brought their award-winning brews to the community.
And in other Shoe Tree Brewing news, the business brought in two Crushie Awards from the 2021 Craft Beer Marketing Awards, recognizing the company’s can artwork. The awards were earned by the brewery’s Honey Punch in the Nose lager and Gingie Gingerbread Brown Ale for can design; both were created by Reno artist Matthew Lundahl. The 16- and 20-ounce cans both garnered gold awards at the global competition focused on recognizing design, artwork, and retail marketing efforts behind craft beer.
Speaking of local craft beer, in August, Huntsman Brewing opened at 124 Wonder St., which was previously occupied by Silver Peak Brewery & Restaurant and had been in that location for 22 years. Huntsman Brewing is related to the Huntsman Tavern in Sparks, a 50-year-old bar that was purchased and rehabilitated by four friends. The brewery will use some of Silver Peak’s beer recipes and try some of its own, including a new IPA.
In other beer news, Lead Dog Brewing Co., owned by Reno native Ryan Gaumer, was acquired by Mammoth Brewing Co. on April 14. The sale came after Gaumer reached out to Mammoth owner Sean Turner, looking to strike a deal after the Great Basin Brewing Co. sale fell through. The amount of the acquisition hasn’t been made public, but the reason for it is clear. Gaumer is taking on another position within the beverage industry. Despite merging, the two brands will remain separate and disparate, while Mammoth benefits from Lead Dog’s expansive production facility in Sparks and Gaumer gets the deal he needs to move into a new role.
In yet more local beer news, Wonder Aleworks was set to open Sept. 3. The brewery is owned by Nick Fischella, an original founder — and still partner — of Banger Brewing in Las Vegas. Those who want to give Wonder a try can find the brewery/bar/restaurant by looking for the hot air balloon logo next to Rum Sugar Lime bar and Pizzava in the former Under the Rose location in Midtown Reno. The brewery debuted with eight house ales, but offers 24 taps in total as well as cocktails and elevated bar food.
It’s always with a heavy heart that we bid adieu to favorite eateries throughout the region — both those that have become staples in the community and those that were only with us for a short time.
July 9 marked the last day of operation for MidTown Wine Bar, which opened in 2011. Owners Tony and Amaya made the news public on Facebook, noting several interested buyers, so it’s unclear whether the business concept will change or remain the same when it reopens.
La Vecchia, a traditional Northern Italian restaurant on Skyline Boulevard, closed in June after 31 years in business.
After two years in business, owner Aaron Foster closed his restaurant, Food + Drink, on June 28. A twist came in mid-August when the eatery reopened under new ownership. Coffeebar owner Greg Buchheister purchased the business.
Northern Nevada residents are keeping news networks busy.
Reno pastry chef Kevin Futamachi, who has worked at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and the now-defunct Roundabout Grill, among other local spots, appeared on the fourth episode of the Food Network show Chopped Sweets’ third season on May 17 — and won! This was his second appearance on the Food Network. Previously he competed on Season 2, Episode 13 of Bakers vs. Fakers.
Big congratulations go out to our own Nevada Brining Co., based in Sparks, which will have its pickles and other products distributed in 46 Whole Foods Market locations throughout Northern California. And Rowdy Bars, based in Reno, announced in August that its products will be sold at all Northern California and Northern Nevada Whole Foods Market locations.
University of Nevada, Reno’s Grant Cramer, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, retired after 33 years at the university. His legacy in Nevada winemaking lives on in the countless people he consulted and supported in commercial and residential grape growing and winemaking.
John Ascuaga, the pioneer responsible for creating Sparks’ John Ascuaga’s Nugget (which he sold in 2013), died in June, at age 96. He was known for transforming a former coffeeshop with a burger restaurant — home of the famous Awful Awful — and a few slot machines into a gaming mecca. His wife, Rose Louise, died in November 2020.
Speaking of local casino news, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa celebrated 30 years in business. Throughout the month of June, casino-wide celebrations marked the iconic anniversary.
Finally, the local egg industry is getting an overhaul. New restrictions were placed on large egg producers in Nevada focused on increasing humane and environment-friendly practices. The law will address how large hen enclosures need to be, starting on July 1, 2022, before eventually moving to cage-free operations by 2024. The law, Assembly Bill 399, mimics laws in other states, including California, intended to discourage large egg producers from skirting regulations by moving operations to Nevada. Farms with fewer than 3,000 female chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl are exempt.
Until next time, remember to eat, drink, and support local!
Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident. You can follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram @Wanderlust_n_wine.