A Bite out of Reno

By Bryan Akerley

To understand the scope of Reno dining, you have to experience it firsthand. In a way, this means stumbling into Noble Pie after a crawl through Midtown’s bars for a late night slice of pizza. Or picking up the freshest salad-sandwich combo from Yoshe’s Deli during the weekday lunch hour rush. Meeting friends for a laid back wine-and-cheese afternoon at the Cheese Board. Taking Sunday morning to yourself with a book, a biscuit and a cup of coffee in the corner at Homage Bakery.

Reno’s food culture is intertwined, hand in hand, with its lifestyle. And just like Reno’s social universe, its dining is as diverse as it comes. This is, of course, due to the fact that Northern Nevada chefs and restaurateurs are often the most hard-traveled, eclectic and frankly brilliant representatives of the area itself. They’re mad-scientist pioneers, honoring their nationalities while making a singular, unique statement.

This week (October 9 to 15) is the one week of the year in which Reno’s culinary magic is on full display. With Reno Bites 2017, hosted by a mix of beloved Reno restaurants and some of the newest, edgiest places on the scene, there is no better time to experience that grand mixture of lifestyle and taste. Because there is simply so much going on and there are so many mouth-watering stops to make, I'll give you a few of this weekend’s highlights.

Here’s your chance to check out some of the fresher faces in Reno dining on Friday evening (October 13). A ticketed event from 6 to 11 p.m., the Downtown Walkabite is an opportunity to sample the best of the Downtown-Midtown stretch. Included on this tour is Creazian, the hot fusion restaurant just off the Virginia Street bridge. Creazian twists Vietnamese and other Asian classics into savory, flavorful dishes that defy both tradition and categorization. As difficult as it may be to describe the taste to your friends, it’s something you’ll have to try. From there you make a stop for upscale dining among the exhibits of the Nevada Museum of Art at Chez Louie, where local chef Mark Estee has crafted locally sourced, rich and delicious pieces of culinary artistry.

Photo: Creazian Facebook

The next bite is another of the area’s newest, the Washoe Public House. Aside from having one of the most enviable patios in Midtown, the modern bar and grill won’t disappoint with shareable appetizers and classic American food distilled down to just the basic delicious ingredients. From there, it’s the Riverwalk’s Liberty Food & Wine Exchange, Estee’s marketplace bar and casual restaurant – a perfect topper to the event’s cast of farm-to-table samples.

Easily one of the most fun events of the Reno Bites week is the Chef Showdown. If you love shows like Iron Chef and Chopped, here’s your chance to catch a cooking competition live and in person. Reno Bites gathers eight of the best, brightest, most intuitive chefs in the area to compete at Czyz’s Appliance. With one hour on the clock, the chefs are given the secret ingredients and must conceive and prepare a dish. It’s intense, and besides providing an afternoon of edge-of-your-seat entertainment, the best part is that, of course, you get to sample the wild creations the chefs conjure. The free event is from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Photo: Blend Catering Facebook

While much of Reno Bites week is focused on growing appreciation of craft foods in Northern Nevada, you cannot forget a dish’s favorite pairing. Pignic Patio and Pub invites you to Pigtobeerfest, the third annual celebration of beer and German cuisine. Midtown’s Pignic is an old house converted into a bar. It's surrounded by a patio that’s stocked with open grills – a unique type of place where you can buy a specialty cocktail, bring a slab of meat and spend an afternoon grilling just outside the pub doors.

At night Pignic becomes the coolest house party you’ve ever seen – often complete with a live band shaking up the bar’s “living room.” At Pigtobeerfest on Saturday night (October 14), you’ll get to try a host of authentic German lagers paired with fresh-grilled wurst with peppers and onions, sauerkraut and German potato salad. To top it off, the Reno Jazz Syndicate is on deck with live German polka. There’s no better Oktoberfest party in town, and tickets are $30 a piece.

Photo: Pignic Facebook

Like the delectable cuisine it celebrates, Reno Bites is a week to be savored. It’s a chance to see the most exciting Reno bars and restaurants in action all at once and an opportunity to sample the ones you may have been yearning to try. Food-lovers, take full advantage of the week and weekend’s cluster of events. Reno’s culinary scene is the best it’s ever been, so there’s much to celebrate.

For more of this weekend’s happenings, visit our Daytime, Nightlife and Community events pages.

About the Author Bryan Akerley
Bryan was born and raised in Northern Nevada and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. When he’s not writing, he’s keeping up with pop culture as a lover of movies, TV, music and books or out exploring the area through its restaurants, bars and nightlife. Then he’ll unwind by playing the drums or piano or spending time with his corgi, Teddy.