Eat and drink like a local in Carson City
The food and drink scene in northern Nevada has experienced quite a renaissance in the last 10 years, thanks to the migration and integration of talented chefs and creativity in the region.
Carson City’s food and drink scene is most assuredly on the rise with a thriving downtown coupled with culinary classics and locals’ favorites that are meant to be discovered.
Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint
Ask anyone who lives in Carson City about Sassafras and you’ll get a synopsis of innovative menu choices coupled with an enthusiastic, in-person Yelp review. Starters such as Evilled Eggs and Cheese Curds made from local Sand Hill Dairy are staples on this diverse menu. Choose from a variety of entrees such as fresh salads, yummy sandwiches (did someone say Shrimp Po’Boy?), burgers and pizza. They even have Okonomiyaki, a Japanese style pan-fried vegetable pancake!
Shoe Tree Brewing Co.
This brewery is named after the tree that lovingly displays footwear in Churchill, Nev. along “The Loneliest Road in America.” One visit to this fun, laid back brewery and you’ll want to slip on your adidas and run back. It is no wonder that Shoe Tree was awarded Gold and Bronze medals at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for its Coco Burrito and Stoutacus creations. Coco Burrito is a Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, peanuts and Choco Tacos. Stoutacus is an Imperial Stout that weighs in at 11.6 percent ABV and has notes of plums, raisin, coffee and toffee. Why not get a beer tasting flight while you’re at it?
If you visit Sassafras, Shoe Tree and the Carson Hot Springs all in the same area, Carson City locals will say you completed the Carson City Triathlon! Be sure to post your bragging rights about your momentous accomplishment on the ‘gram.
Fresh fare, coffee and brews — there’s no way you can go wrong at The Union, located in downtown Carson City. The kale salad is the same that harkens from famed chef Mark Estee’s kitchens in Reno — and is talked about widely at dinner tables all over northern Nevada. Any burger or wood-fired pizza on the menu is a wise choice, not to mention the french fries are perfect. The fried chicken sando is not for the faint of heart and is certainly worth the calories. Top it off with a cold brew, such as a tried and true Carson Blonde. Now you know what the talk is all about.
You can feel the love at Piazza, where everything is inspired by travel throughout Italy and Spain. Whether it’s date night or a business trip, the hardest decision you’ll make is what to sample on the menu. Try the marinated beet salad if goat cheese is your “jam” or the crostini with various divine toppings. Don’t neglect the braised short ribs or Piazza lamb pops to crescendo your meal. You’ll see and feel the inspiration of chef Charlie Abowd, one of Carson City’s beloved, and a top regional chef recognized by the James Beard Foundation. In fact, the stained glass and some of the decor hail from Adele’s, his previous restaurant. Chef Dan Burnham is at the helm of this establishment, with an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal.
Fresh, vibrant and tasty, The Basil reflects the styles and flavors of its six owners. Savor the fresh mango rolls with homemade peanut sauce, then move on to fresh ginger root chicken and shrimp panang curry. It’s the perfect start to an evening out in Carson City.
This building has been around since 1899, seeing its share of robberies and prohibition raids. In 2017, the Nevada Builders Alliance purchased Jack’s Bar with the intent to renovate and restore the establishment back to its former glory. Today Bank Saloon dons black walnut woodwork throughout the bar and highlights pieces from the McFadden art collection on its walls. Sip handcrafted cocktails in style and relive part of history.
But wait, there’s more. If you need an extended list, check off some of these stops for even more delicious eats and sips throughout the Capital city. Nom Voyage!
Comma Coffee – Unique interior, lots of breakfast choices and java that will impress any coffee hipster. Check out June’s Morning Benediction topped with basil, pesto, avocado, chopped spinach, cilantro, red onion and twso poached eggs. If you’re in for a hearty breakfast.
LA Bakery – This is a hidden gem serving breakfast and lunch with very friendly service. Just press your nose against the pastry case and you’re sold. If you have food sensitivities, this has the best bakery items in the area. Open through lunch only.
Cracker Box – This is where you want to go for an old school diner breakfast. It is most definitely a local’s favorite.
Squeeze In – Boasting a huge and sassy menu, you can also write on the wall and not get in trouble. Unique and yummy breakfast and lunch options with sizable portions makes this a delightful stop for those with empty bellies.
So Juicy – Fuel up with fresh squeezed juice, smoothies and acai/dragonfruit bowls. So Juicy also has a fresh salad bar and soup.
Scoups – Treat Yo Self to well-imagined soup and ice cream such as salted caramel or bubble gum. Open through lunch only.
Cucina Lupo – Experience another Mark Estee creation with unique, upscale, Italian eats.
Red’s Old 395 Grill – Check out this Carson City classic with a captivating interior. Red’s is known for house smoked barbecue and has 100 beers from around the world on its menu. The Rideshare Foodie gives his commentary on the food.
Fox Brewpub – Get your pub eats on in a cozy setting, located in the historic St. Charles Hotel. Fox Brewpub also has a lovely fire pit outside for chill Carson City nights. Many legislators frequent this place after their session (if only these walls could talk!).
San Marcos Grill – It’s off the beaten path, featuring a terrific tequila selection and tableside guacamole.
Mangia Tutto – Get cozy like your grandma made it Italian. Plus, this restaurant showcases Chicago deep dish pizza.
Juan’s Mexican Grill – With two locations, double your fun with all your favorites. Sample the Albondigas, Super Juan burrito and Quesadilla burger.