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Apr 5, 2008 10:35 PM

Celebrating a graduation and more - Reno

You Reno guys have been pretty quiet since I I'm giving you a challenge.

We'll be back in town the third weekend in May for UNR Graduation. No, not my sons' of their girlfriends. The occasion will be made more special by the fact that her parents will be there....all the way from Miyazaki in southern Japan. Since these are potential future inlaws (we certainly hope so!), obviously we want to show them a good time. If their daughter is any indication, they are potential chowhounds as well. They will be in SF briefly during their weeklong trip (unfortunately work schedules are limiting their time out of their country, but they are flying in and out of SFO), and I'm sure we'll visit Tahoe and maybe Virginia City while they are in Reno. But I would like to plan a celebratory dinner for about 8 to 10 family members and close friends while they are here.

Any ideas for something new and different? I don't want to go too far out of their comfort zone....but something with a western theme or unique to this part of the US might be nice. I don't know how Japanese visitors would react to basque family-style...any thoughts?

No, I don't want to ask my son's girlfriend. I would like to surprise her. Obviously I have to deal with the fact that many restaurants in town will be hosting graduation dinners; so I want to make reservations ASAP..(yesterday would have been good....)

Is Ciao still going strong?? Any other ideas?

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  1. According to the last two posts in the Ciao thread, they have shut down, but will be reopening in late April, perhaps as a sports bar. According to the second-to-last post in that thread, the food and service were so bad at the end that you would not have wanted to eat there at all, much less take guests you were trying to impress.

    1 Reply
    1. re: clarence6ybr

      Too bad...I was thinking their back patio might be nice for our group. Sezmu would be nice too, but I'm not sure they can handle a group of 10.....

    2. JT Basque restaurant in Garnerville is pretty reliable and has some "atmosphere," aka bar scene The food certainly is "normal" enough -- soup, salad, steak (+ other entree choices), beans,etc. Could be a haul though depending where you'll be starting out from -- Reno or SLT.

      1. The only Basque place that seems special is JT's and they don't take reservations. On any week night you might be looking at a 90 minute wait to get in. John Ascuaga can't even cut in line at JT's. A 90-minute wait can take the fun out of any meal. Maybe a lunch might be better there. As far as regional, or western, that's it. I can't think of any others that I'd recommend for a special meal.
        Part of me thinks an old school Italian place like the Halfway Club would be fun, but so many people I know think the Halfway Club is horribly run down. The Japanese seem so clean and efficient that I think they might be horrified by something like that.
        For the special dinner, how about LaVecchia? Glenn, Bill and I and others just had another nice meal there a couple of weeks ago.
        Otherwise, maybe just pick the best steakhouse in town.

        1. Hey, Janet! Nice to see your post - yes, we have been quiet since your deparature, thanks for giving us the challenge. What about Big Ed's Alley Inn? Lots o'beef, beans - it's got that western feel. Or, the Lodge at Galena? Atmosphere is nice and I'm sure they'd accomodate a grad party. Have you ever been to the Gold Hill Hotel ( Their website provides lots of group/menu info and it's definitely unique to this area. A guy I work with had his wedding reception there and it was a hit. Have fun!

          3 Replies
          1. re: nancyhudson

            You know, its funny...I was thinking the Gold Hill Hotel might be fun too...and we are planning to head up to Virginia City so we could combine the two.

            My son's girlfriend loves La Vecchia, so Steve's suggestion is also a good one. I had forgotten that my son asked us to take her there for her birthday last year, as "its her favorite restaurant in Reno."

            We may end up having several dinners out anyway; after all they will be in town for a week, and we're coming up to entertain them. My son's girlfriend wants to have a little get-together to introduce her friends to her parents, so we'll probably do that at the old house (my sons still live there) after graduation anyway....and do a barbque with simple food. Just as well for the graduation day; every restaurant in town will be crowded....

            1. re: janetofreno

              S&BIL have had great meals at Gold Hill Hotel. And it oozes with authentic western atmosphere, including a legendary ghost.

              A few years ago in September we took a steam train ride down from Virginia City to the Gold Hill Hotel and had drinks at the bar before heading back to VG. It was a BLAST. I'd check that out for a once in a lifetime opportunity for your guests. info on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad schedule: 687-6953.

            2. re: nancyhudson

              Stumbled onto this post. Wow Big Ed's Alley Inn really brings back memories of simpler days. I can just see my 21-year-old self thinking I was in heaven on a Sunday with a beached-whale sized omlette on top of a mountain of homefries drinking a beer and watching my beloved Fortyniners during their glory years. My simpler self also appreciated the "rugged" beauty of the servers who by night worked at the strip clubs which flourished on 4th St. which then and probably still is the seediest part of Reno. My current self would likely not tolerate the second-hand smoke and would likely pass on the "be all, end all" omlette for something less calorically dense. My interest in football has also waned since the Fortyniners fall to mediocrity. Either way those were some great times. Thanks for reminding me of this gem in my past life.

            3. How about some dim sum, which I have heard is big in Japan. The Bay Area is too far, but I can check on Sactown teahouse.

              Too bad you can not come out to the Bay Area, where Susancinsf will know where to go.