By Rocio Hernandez
There are about 20 eateries on campus, but only one serves waffles, candied bacon and Forklift Burritos in the same location.
The Works opened its doors earlier this month in the Fitzgerald Student Services building and according to Associate Director of Housing Operation and Dining Services Russ Meyer, the restaurant has been off to a great start and has gotten attention from students, faculty and staff.
“They have done a really good job since we opened on [August 4], and we’ll really know within the next week or two how well they’ve trained and gotten the hang of it and how well they can process 19,000 students on campus,” Meyer said.
The Works is steampunk -themed, a style that Head Chef and Unit Manager Shawn Lee defines as the Victorian Era meets the Industrial Revolution and clashes with sci-fi. The restaurant is decorated with gears, robot paintings and coil-shaped barstools.
The employees wear brown and white colored uniforms with goggles on their heads. Some of them are active in the local steampunk scene in Reno and have their own steampunk name.
All were hired based on their personality and not just on previous food service experience.
“We did a totally different recruitment process for this,” Meyer said. “We went looking for people who wanted to perform, not just work and serve food.”
When the employees prepare a s’more waffle, they use a small blow torch to melt the marshmallows and they have a line that they use to let people know that there is an open flame that also becomes a fun performance.
“When they light it up they go, ‘fire in the hole,’ and everyone in the hole responds with ‘fire in the hole,’ and… everybody looks around to see what’s going on,” Meyer said. “It’s a show in addition to it just being food.”
According to Meyer, The Works aims to give students something they can’t find anywhere else.
“The students wanted something totally different and I hope that’s what we have accomplished,” Meyer said.
The Works operates from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday
through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. They offer about 80 items on their menu that include breakfast, lunch, dessert and coffee all at a reasonable price.
The Works’ most expensive items, the Turkey Cranberry Club and the Roasted Portabella Mushroom, cost $6.89; their cheapest item, the basic waffle, is only $1.49.
“I think it’s a great price for students,” Lee said. “For what they get, you won’t find anything like it on campus so you get above portions.”
University of Nevada, Reno freshman Moses Romo and his mom recently visited The Works and had the lime chicken burrito and the jalapeño chicken burrito. They were satisfied with the food and compared the prices to Qdoba.
“It’s cheaper than Qdoba because I pay like 10 bucks by myself, but here it’s 14 for both of us, including the drink,” Romo
said. “I think it’s the same size burrito as Qdoba, but probably better than Qdoba and most burrito places.”
Art major Ramiro Martinez-Saenz visited The Works after his trip to the Admissions and Records office. He paid $7.95 for a fountain drink and the Atomic Chicken Sandwich, but had one complaint about the food.
“The sandwich overall and the chicken, it’s good,” Martinez-Saenz said. “The only thing I didn’t like was that the waffle falls apart really easy.”
Despite this, he ranked The Works in his top three favorite places to eat on campus and said he would return for more.
According to Lee, students that will be visiting The Works can all expect a restaurant that is fun and full of energy, ready to bring the guest into the steampunk food experience.
Rocio Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.