Sparks Correspondence – July 2018


Summer is in full force in Sparks with a lot going on during the day and night, especially in Victorian Square.

The Nugget Casino Resort is hosting its annual Star Spangled Sparks event on the Fourth of July, but as you prepare for the extravagant fireworks display be sure to walk down Victorian Square and enjoy the things you can eat, drink, and see until the show starts:

SEE: Last Chance Joe at the Sparks Heritage Museum

As you go admire the 30-ft. Northern Nevadan icon of the toothy optimistic miner, dip into the Sparks Heritage Museum to get a more thorough glimpse into the region’s past. Located on the corner of Pyramid Way and Victorian Square, Last Chance Joe greets you out front and inside you will find restored artifacts and information related to Sparks’ proud railroad heritage including a replica of the locomotive depot, a vintage steam engine, and 4000 more square feet of interesting exhibits. Learn all about Northern Nevada’s history and interesting past, plus the role that Sparks played in it. During special events, the museum’s conductor also tends to give families free rides on its Engine 39.

EAT: Pietro’s Famiglia

Richie Ballerini is still serenading dinner guests at Pietro’s Famiglia on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights as people dine on authentic Italian cuisine and fine wines sourced from Italy to Napa Valley. As you dine on Vitello Scallopine Picatta (veal sautéed with garlic, Mediterranean capers, shallots, and white wine) or Seafood Cioppino (voted “Best in Reno”), you can enjoy Ballerini’s a cappella saloon songs and Italian ballads from the 1950’s-60’s era.

DRINK: Great Basin Brewing Company

It is no secret that Great Basin Brewing Co. is one of our favorite places to drink and dine. Owner Tom Young is a thriving entrepreneur and esteemed Sparks resident, recently taking home two World Beer Cup awards for its Truckee Red and Bitchin’ Berry (my personal favorite) and celebrating its 25-year anniversary this spring. Great Basin has created more than 100 beers in its lifespan and I don’t think has any plans of slowing down. They even create homemade root beer for nondrinkers.

Great Basin’s flagship restaurant right down there in Victorian Square is also a great place to dip into during special events. They usually host amazing performances and live music on the outside Great Basin stage but there’s also a pretty good chance you can find a seat or two at the bar even when it’s packed. Great Basin also has a mean plate of nachos on the menu, so if you’re really hungry I suggest ordering that paired with a Bitchin’ Berry.

Other notable places to hang out in Victorian Square include the Cantina Los Tres Hombres, O’Skis Pub & Grille, and the Nugget Casino Resort. Along with being a fun place to gamble and have a rootin’ tootin’ good time at Gilley’s, the Nugget always has some kind of top entertainment going on in its Celebrity Showroom (Three Dog Night is playing July 20) and contains plenty of its own dining and drink options, deluxe guest rooms and an indoor pool.

— Kayla Anderson