Who knew that the dive bar scene and 3 a.m. hamburgers of Reno could burgeon into food culture that is… actually really good?
While there are still old favorites, such as Beto’s, Pneumatic Diner, the Awful Awful and Golden Flower, there has been an evolution in the food culture of “The Biggest Little City.”
From the Midtown district (Süp, Midtown Eats, Great Full Gardens and Bras- serie Saint James) to the various local mainstays (Rubicon Deli, Hi-Point Coffee and Café and Newman’s Deli) the city has undergone a rebirth of sorts.
Where college students have been eating has changed along with the landscape of the city. Gaming might have taken a hit, but the downtown area of the city has only grown thanks to its quickly growing variety of cuisine blending with the nightlife and culture of the city.
For a city that is trying to become more “cultured,” food is a first step. It connects people across cultures; taste buds know no cultural bounds, and the city is taking notice. Although the transitional phase is noticeable, when you look at the cleanliness of downtown Reno, it serves as a reminder of where the city needs to go.
Because you typically never see a cleaned-up city without good restaurants, this probably also has to do with the fact that if you want people to get out of their houses and come downtown, provide them with food, which the city’s entrepreneurs have been doing.
Midtown and Artown have become intertwined with the city’s resurgence and emphasis on cultures that are different from gaming or the university. Aside from traditional restaurants, there are numerous places that are off the beaten path, so to speak.
Reno has also become somewhat of an all-you-can-eat sushi (AYCE) mecca with Hiroba and ijji leading the way. While the city isn’t the only place that does AYCE, it is a prominent feature in many parts of town.
This is interesting, especially for a land-locked desert plateau. Also, the city has been taking a cue from other large cities (Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland) with its food trucks.
Reno offers a variety of food trucks during the springtime and summer with food truck Fridays: Kemji’s (Korean barbecue), GourMelt (grilled cheese) and Burger Me! (hamburgers) are some of the prime examples of how to do it right.
The gap between generations has been noticeable as well. Ten years ago, if you were going out with your friends for a late night meal, the place where you saw young people eating at night would have been at a Denny’s or Fourth Street landmark Gold ‘n Silver. “Where the cool kids are eating” is now everywhere and all the time.
Beyond doing what is cool, the residents of Reno seem to be making a conscious effort to support the local economy, while also filling their bellies. Students need to take notice, because if there is any place they can make their mark while at the University of Nevada, Reno, it might as well be in the burgeoning food scene.
The time to invest is now for the undergraduates and graduates at the university, because if you can take pride in something at school, why not care about the food? Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be on the cutting edge of what might speak to something larger than us and is also delicious at the same time.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at cboline@ sagebrush.unr.edu.