Editor’s note: We’re taking our favorite all-you-can-eat-and-drink tasting event Good Spirits on a national tour! Our first stop is tomorrow in Reno, so if you’re in the area, best grab your tickets before it’s too late. For future dates and locations—including Aspen, Marin & Wine Country, Ohio Valley and Chicago—check out this page.
Reno, Nevada has long been known for its $9.99 casino buffets. These days—thanks to energetic entrepreneurs, a growing population and flourishing local farms—Reno is fast becoming a Pacific Coast food destination. With miles of ranches to the east and farms, wineries and the ocean to the west, fresh ingredients are quick to pop up on the menus of Reno’s (and nearby Lake Tahoe’s) brash, new hotspots. As an Edible Reno-Tahoe writer and long-time Reno resident, here’s what I recommend you try.
Breakfast and coffee
Hub Coffee Roasters Riverside
727 Riverside Dr., Reno
Much of Reno’s restaurant scene revolves around the Truckee River and Hub Coffee Roasters Riverside is in the perfect location to enjoy the watery view. Hub, located inside a former garage, directly sources their beans from small farms in South America and roasts small batches for their two locations (the second is at the University of Nevada, Reno) and for wholesale use. Hub serves drip, pour over and cold brew coffees as well as coffee drinks, chai, matcha and loose leaf teas. Their hot chocolate is made from the decadent delights by Dorinda’s Chocolates next door.
Great Full Gardens
555 S Virginia St., Reno
Vegetarians and vegans can rejoice at Great Full Gardens. Not only does this Midtown establishment cater to plant lovers, but also to those who prefer gluten-free and Paleo diets. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is chock full of dishes like the paleo breakfast bowl with eggs, kale, cabbage and broccoli, wild cod tacos on organic corn tortillas, and the jack fruit BBQ sandwich with vegan coleslaw and dill pickles. No Great Full Gardens dish is complete without a cup of totally tomato soup from co-owner, “Gino, the Soup Man.” The creamy concoction is made from locally grown tomatoes and garlic.
325 E 4th St., Reno
The Depot is not only changing the face of Reno’s Downtown architecture scene, but also the state’s brewing and distilling reputation. Located inside a restored 1910 railroad depot, the Depot serves updated American comfort food using their in-house brews and spirits. The jumbo onion rings and fish and chips are battered with their Voyager IPA beer and the tri-tip is marinated with the Ranch Hand ale. The Depot is also a proud supporter of local farmers and suppliers and that can be tasted in their delicious cous cous and dino kale salad with candied walnuts and pear vinaigrette.
Lone Eagle Grille
111 Country Club Dr., Incline Village
While dinner at the Lone Eagle is highly recommended (especially for the Niman Ranch lamb chops with mint hummus), go to this Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe restaurant to experience one of the best views in North Lake Tahoe where the blue water sparkles just steps from your table. The menu features local and regional fish and meat dishes like the Durham Ranch Angus Burger with bacon and egg on a brioche bun and sautéed tiger prawns with pearl pasta and lemon cream.
Louis’ Basque Corner
301 E 4th St., Reno
Basque immigrants came to the Silver State during California’s Gold Rush in the mid-1800s and established a mainstay of Reno’s culture: family style dining. Louis’ Basque Corner near Downtown has been in the area since the 1960s and continues to be a popular local hangout. Start out an evening at the bar (and chat with said locals) with the potent Picon Punch with Amaro liqueur, grenadine and brandy. Dinner is one price and served with soup, French bread, beans, salad, fries and a main entree and dessert. Entrees include lamb chops and filet mignon as well as the luscious sweetbreads prepared with red wine and mushrooms.
Death & Taxes
26 Cheney St., Reno
An evening at Death & Taxes is ordained to be special and there’s no reason to rush away from this elegant (but approachable) speakeasy tucked into a Midtown Reno side street. Within their black leather and chandelier lair, the bartenders of Death & Taxes craft artisanal cocktails that require savoring for at least an hour. The Spanish Diplomat with Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Italian Zucca, curaçao and star anise is dark and pungent and the Cala Varques with Thai chili reposado tequila, green chartreuse, honey and a flaming sprig of thyme will possess your nostrils.
Snacks and sweets
Mix Cupcake Co.
1117 California Ave., Reno
No food list is complete without a way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Mix Cupcake Co. is just steps away from the Truckee River and features cupcakes, pies and cookies all made from scratch with the finest ingredients. The cupcakes range in flavor from triple chocolate temptation and classic red velvet to vanilla kiss and cherry almond. Toppings include espresso cream cheese, marshmallow buttercream, caramel and German chocolate. Mix’s pies induce saliva with flavors like salted caramel apple, classic pumpkin and jumbleberry with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries with a hint of citrus.