19 Carson City Restaurants Legislators
and Lobbyists Visited in 2019
You Should Too!
by Barry Smith
When 63 legislators and hundreds of lobbyists arrive in Carson City for the 2019 session of the Nevada Legislature they continued a tradition that dates to the beginnings of Territorial government when Abe Curry and his cohorts settled in at the Warm Springs Hotel: they talked about their doings over food and drink in Carson City’s finest restaurants.
While mixing government and gastronomy might sound like a recipe for heartburn, it’s actually a fascinating opportunity for the Nevada constituency to simultaneously rub and bend elbows with their elected representatives.
There are power breakfasts, power lunches and power dinners. Be assured that, since the 120-day limit was imposed on legislative sessions, there isn’t as much power drinking as in the freewheeling old days. But it isn’t exactly work, work, work either.
For the Lucky 13 freshmen legislators coming into their offices in the Assembly and Senate for the first time, here are 19 restaurants you will visit during the 2019 Session. There are many more that could have been included — check out the full list — but here are a few you shouldn’t miss. Some are new, some have been here through many sessions. Especially with the resurgence of its downtown, Carson City has become a dining destination.
At the same time, visitors to Carson City — whether you’re coming to take care of business at the Legislative Building or merely sightseeing through its museums and other attractions — can satisfy their palates and get a peek at politics at the same time.
1112 N. Carson Street – (775) 882-3353
If you haven’t been to Adele’s, there is some question whether you’re actually a legislator or lobbyist in Nevada.
Since 1977, when Paul and Adele Abowd opened it, the restaurant has set the standard for dining in the capital. For the better part of that 40-term, it’s been operated by renowned chef Charlie Abowd and his wife, Karen, who recently retired from her own political career as a Carson City supervisor.
It is, as the Abowds describe it, a “haven for Nevada’s movers and shakers.” The amount of Nevada state politics settled at Adele’s should never be underestimated.
The restaurant, in a converted 1864 mansard-style Victorian house, features Charlie’s signature Continental cuisine and dishes playing up locally-sourced ingredients.
Be aware: if you don’t make it to Adele’s this session, you may not have another opportunity. The property is for sale — but not the name “Adele’s.”
701 S. Carson St. – 775-283-0164
311 N. Carson St. – 775-841-6100
312 S. Carson St. – 775-883-2662
402 E. William St. – 775-882-4556
4389 S. Carson St. – 775-883-6261
449 W. King St. – 775-883-1978
Garibaldi’s Italian Kitchen
307 N. Carson St. – 775-884-4574
A longtime staple of Carson City dining out, Garibaldi’s has been operated by chef Mark Claypool since 1995. It is a popular place for quiet conversation, classic Italian cuisine and a splendid wine list. As such it’s a pleasant venue for watching off-campus legislative business being done.
The menu is strong on familiar Italian favorites — pasta in every shape and size from angel hair to ziti — and even the garlic bread is locally famous.
3700 N. Carson St – 775-884-4414
In more recent sessions, a portion of the political power has shifted its dining and drinking base north on Carson Street to Glen Eagles restaurant.
The full menu offers seafood, pasta, big steaks and a variety of other dishes. Live music is a regular offer in the bar.
The 20-year-old restaurant has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, and it’s far enough from the capitol campus to give lawmakers the illusion they are getting a respite from legislative life.
1280 N. Curry St. – 775-885-2253
200 N. Stewart St. – 775-461-3353
308 N. Curry St.- 775-461-0441
McFadden Plaza (Fox Brewpub, Mom & Pop’s Diner, Scoups, Bella Fiore)
We’re combining all the restaurants on the plaza that used to be Third Street, close enough to the Legislative Building across Carson Street to skip out of boring testimony but still get back in time for the committee vote.
Doug and Jamesa Cramer have been operating Mom & Pop’s Diner (775-884-4411) for more than 20 years now, and it’s the easiest place to spot a legislator or a lobbyist during the session. The lobbyists are wearing name badges and doing most of the talking.
It’s familiar American fare at a good price with a cozy atmosphere, which means it’s easy to eavesdrop. And there’s no extra charge for Doug’s opinions.
Scoup’s, (775-297-3471), as the name should suggest, is a small place that offers homemade soups and ice cream. The newest restaurant on the block, opening prior to last session with its hot-and-cold menu, it’s where you can spot Las Vegas-based legislators beginning to thaw in late May just about the time they’re migrating back south.
At the west end of the plaza is Bella Fiore (775-888-WINE) a wine bar with a limited Italian menu. It’s notable for being the most frequent venue on the Legislature’s official after-hours social calendar, because the lobbyists can literally wine and dine their targets here. It also adopted a “no press” policy to keep out the prying eyes of the capital press corps. No shirt, no shoes, no scribes.
Actually, when a 10-year franchise agreement ended the name was adjusted slightly. This is the place when you’re more likely to have a beer with lunch, or looking for fish-and-chips or a shepherd’s pie. It also has the college basketball games on during March Madness, so hoops fans don’t have to sit in their office and pretend to be watching Assembly Ways & Means.
(A firkin, by the way, is a small cask. What were you thinking?)
1055 S. Carson St.- 775-887-0395
If your brand of politician is more likely to be quaffing beers than sipping wine, then spend some time at Red’s, just off Carson Street south of the capitol complex. There’s 101 beers on the wall, and if you take them all down and pass them around, you get your name forever inscribed on the Red’s Hall of Fame, or something similar.
The restaurant is also family friendly, offering entrees such as the double pork chop, Flat Iron steak and a range of barbecue including the triple-threat sausage plate of linguica, bratwurst and andouille. It has a fun, rustic decor with lots of artifacts to see, like the authentic 150-year-old Haladay Standard windmill out front.
It’s the kind of place softball teams celebrate their wins and drown their losses in the warmer months. And after the legislators’ annual grudge-match basketball game, you can hear the trash-talking continue.
1500 Old Hot Springs Rd. – 775-884-4471
1212 S. Stewart St. – 775-888-9090
302 N. Carson St. – 775-885-7307
725 Basque Way – 775-885-2828
Although it’s been around for a decade, Z Bistro still attracts mostly locals who understand Chef Gilles Galhaut and his wife, Tina, are going to create something new for each week’s menu.
It all depends, Chef Gilles told Edible Reno-Tahoe, on “what I’d like to eat that week.”
Politicians should admire somebody who sticks to his principles instead of bending to whatever the polls say.
Editor’s Choice —
WHEN YOU ARRIVE ON THE second floor of The D Las Vegas casino on Fremont Street, you’re greeted by the tinny, rhythmic thumping of 20 artificial hooves galloping in unison.
It’s more persistent and more infectious than the trademark Wheel of Fortune tones that you hear emanating from branded slots almost everywhere you go in town. It’s louder than the classic pop hits blaring through the casino speakers. The only thing that comes close to drowning it out are the crowds of people who gather around its source, trading memories and gossip about the wood-panelled machine, and cheering on their picks in the hopes of winning somewhere between two and 4,000 coins.
by Kurstin Graham
Nevada History —
In 1904 an Elko gear-maker named G.S. Garcia made a spectacular hand-worked and silver-chased saddle as a part of his exhibit of a working saddlery at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. The saddle, now exhibited at the Nevada State Museum, was awarded a Gold Medal and Garcia became an internationally respected name.
5 Years Ago in the NevadaGram
A Postcard from Shorty
I like to get in the car and find myself a comfortable spot while the posse is loading their crap in around me. They’ve always left room for me up to now, but I don’t like to take chances.
It turns out we went to Tonopah and we stayed at the Mizpah Hotel. And I learned something there that makes me feel very, very proud. Very proud.
You remember that the posse was invited to attend the hotel’s “Grand Re-Opening” in August 2011, and they asked Nancy Cline if I could come too. And she was busy with a hundred important details about the event, and this was a question that hadn’t been discussed.
But the posse had enclosed a photo of me looking very nice and small and obedient and mature. And then her phone rang with a really big problem, so she just said yes and I became the first dog to stay at the Mizpah under the new regime.
Of course that made me proud, but here’s the part that makes me prouder still: because I set such a good example, the Mizpah is now officially Pet-Friendly! YES!
On behalf of dogs everywhere I’d just like to say “Thank you, Nancy” and I am preparing a nice big plaque for the wall in the lobby with my picture on it.
Overheard at the Owl Club in Eureka “Oh for Pete’s sake Helen, quit worrying about old age — it doesn’t last long.”
10 Years Ago in the NevadaGram
An imposing mansion built in 1907 for George Bartlett, a Tonopah attorney and Nevada congressman during the first Tonopah boom had served as the Knights of Columbus Hall for two generations. The increasing decrepitude of both the house and its tenants led to its closure and near-abandonment a few years ago.
Given the decline that Tonopah has experienced over the past several years, hopes were dim that the deterioration of the old house could be reversed.
Enter a newly-arrived builder who purchased the structure, researched its history, and announced plans to restore it to its original glory and operate it as a bed & breakfast. The October event was the official beginning of the effort which he announced would be completed in 18 months.
Bob Perchetti recalled how he and his boyhood friends had hauled their sleds up KC Hill and risked their lives speeding down to Main Street, where, if conditions were right, they could make a sharp left turn and glide all the way down to where the El Marques restaurant is today. In particular he remembered Jim Wolfe veering off course at full speed and crashing through the piano teacher’s big front window.
Bob’s mother Minnie Perchetti broke a bottle of champagne on a rock wall near the great front door to the cheers of the happy optimists assembled. A couple of months later the entrepreneurial benefactor was in jail and the house was in worse shape than ever. Can Tonopah ever catch a break?
15 Years Ago in the NevadaGram
For a long time I’ve wanted to write an article titled “Fallon for Lovers” but I never had the gumption to go there with romance in mind.
But even though the idea has slid down toward the bottom of my To Do List, it has never quite fallen off altogether.
So when I heard that the high-flying, low-slung Sacramento bar band Alkali Flats was booked into the Overland Hotel I realized this was our opportunity to get serious about having fun in Fallon.
Parting Shot — Zephyr Cove Lake Tahoe in winter. Photo by Brendan Packer