Mountain magic

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An artisanal cheese board piled high with meats, specialty cheeses, nuts, olives, fresh and dried fruits, and crackers. It can be paired with one or a flight of The Lodge’s many wine selections

Coffee-and-wine bar welcomes community to gather amid the pines.

Whether you’re winding down Mt. Rose Highway on your way home from the slopes or heading up from Reno to take in some of Mother Nature’s glorious sites near Galena Forest, The Lodge is there to welcome you. The renovated Galena Lodge stood empty for years before Tom Burkhart reimagined the abandoned structure as a haven for locals to gather, starting first as a wine and coffee bar before morphing into a locals’ hotspot made to support small businesses.

“It chose me,” says Burkhart, a retired businessman who, in 2015, relocated to South Reno’s Montrêux community from San Francisco, where he remains co-owner of the social club Wingtip.

He bought the old Galena Lodge because he couldn’t stand it just sitting there, not serving the community in any way,” says Susan Parlane, manager of The Lodge and Burkhart’s daughter.

The original concept was adjusted post-purchase as Burkhart learned that some of the local restrictions on that woodsy plot of land would prohibit him from pursuing his original idea for a fine-dining restaurant.

Instead, Burkhart decided to convert the space into a set of office buildings. The former medical clinic in one section of the building eventually gave way to current tenant Snowind Sports, a store offering equipment rentals and other cold- and warm-weather gear for outdoorsy adventurers that are easy to grab on your way up the mountain or into the forest. Meanwhile, the other side of the building, with the original drive-through overhang, became the wine and coffee bar.

The main focus was for the mountain community to have a home away from home, with food and drink in a beautiful environment,” Burkhart says.

The Lodge owner Tom Burkhart and his daughter, Susan Parlane, The Lodge’s manager, sit in front of The Lodge’s extensive wine wall, full of bottles to be enjoyed at The Lodge or to take home.

He later expanded it to a full bar offering products from local brewers and distillers, including Tahoe/Truckee’s Alibi Ale Works, Sparks’ Revision Brewing Co., and Reno’s 10 Torr Distilling and Brewing, as well as food such as flatbread pizzas and cheese boards.

In the winter, relax in its cozy interior as you watch the snow fall outside and enjoy simmering soups and soothing cocktails. As the weather warms, The Lodge’s offerings transition to refreshing sips and seasonally appropriate dishes, and events and gatherings can be held outside (as permitted) in the spring and summer months. Regardless of how it matures, The Lodge will remain a place for community, and Burkhart, now 82 years old, intends to continue working hands-on in the space, bolstering his position as an integral part of the neighborhood he aims to serve.

In addition to rentable spaces outside, including several patios outfitted with fire tables in colder months, The Lodge hosts sip-and-paint classes with artist Jacque Price and socially distanced shopping events. On a usual day, patrons can mosey in and grab a seat at a high-top table or on a cozy leather couch surrounded by walls of wine, which are available for purchase by the glass or bottle or as part of a flight.

“People come in groups or they come solo,” Parlane says, “but either way, I believe The Lodge is a place that makes each and every person feel comfortable and welcome.”

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. 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. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.

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