2021 has been a wild ride for all of us, but in the midst of so many changes many new restaurants made their debut in Reno and Sparks. New places serving Thai food, beer, empanadas, Detroit-style pizza and juicy burgers are just some of the culinary additions to Northern Nevada this year.
Here’s a look at some of the new eateries here in town:
- Beline Carniceria & Deli opened this spring, quickly earning a reputation for its weighty, cheese-packed tortas and birria, a traditional Mexican stew that the deli has transformed into a beefy torta and cup of soup for dipping and drinking. The deli also features different cuts of meat, Mexican spices, sauces, drinks and snacks for you to try your Mexican cooking skills at home.
- Yu De Thai in Sparks serves up a few dishes you may not have seen on your local Thai menu, such as crispy chicken wonton, deep-fried wonton wrappers stuffed with ground chicken and topped with chili sauce, and blue crab-fried rice.
- Wonder Aleworks offers cocktails, wine, nitro coffee and nine beers — all on tap. Wonder's food menu features a Southern flair. Executive Chef Jonathan Vasquez spent seven years in Louisiana, a culinary experience that has led to such dishes as shrimp and grits, jambalaya balls, vegan fried chicken made with panko-dressed oyster mushrooms and spiced sweet corn.
- Sip of Saigon coffee house in Sparks aims "to introduce Vietnamese cuisine and drinks to the community in an exciting, modern, and contemporary way," according to its website. Located in the old Isabel's Bakery space, this spot specializes in Vietnamese drip coffee, banh mi sandwiches, pho, salads and pastries.
- Tim Turner, owner of Huntsman Tavern in Sparks, spent much of the summer transforming the old Silver Peak property at 124 Wonder St. into his dream bar in Midtown Reno. Master brewer Nick Taylor concocts a variety of lagers, ales, sours and milk stouts.
- At long last, Reno has its very own Inclined Burgers & Brews. As the name suggests, the menu is pretty simple: a few types of burgers, salads, shakes and fries. And there's beer to wash it all down.
- The Coconut is a small California Thai chain that ventured into Nevada this past spring with a spacious, well-lit location across from the Pioneer Center in downtown Reno, taking over the space from the now-shuttered Back Bay Pizza & Cocktails.
- Playfield 76 is a 4,500-foot "barcade" that features local brews, cocktails and a rotation of several dozen arcade games. Visitors can hone their pinball and Skee Ball skills, or play classic titles such as Jurassic Park Arcade, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ms. Pac-Man.
- Ann Church took a leap of faith in mid-April when she opened the emPIEnada food truck and brick-and-mortar restaurant at the same time. True to its name, emPIEnada specializes in pot pies and empanadas, a turnover found throughout Latin and South America.
- Operated by local duo Briana and Jason Wagner, Schussboom Brewing opened earlier this summer after breaking ground in summer 2020 and generating considerable buzz in the local brewery scene.
- Matador Bar & Lounge, a Spanish-themed bar with rooftop seating, opened this summer where once stood the St. James Infirmary, a beer bar that shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Local restaurateur and chef Mark Estee opened Pizzeria Lupo, a New York-inspired pizza place, in June, expanding his Northern Nevada food empire with a third restaurant in Reno.
- After long wait, Koko's Korean Teriyaki, a seasonal food tent, has opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Northwest Reno. Koko's specializes in Korean favorites, including its famed teriyaki chicken skewers.