Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Aug 3, 2011 10:53 PM

Restaurant suggestion needed between Reno & LA

I will be driving for the first time between Reno and Los Angeles to meet up with a friend who lives in LA. First time to make that drive & would like a suggestion of a place approx half way where we could meet to dine. A little closer to LA than Reno would be fine. Thx!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This would be better posted on the California board.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      Agreed, and it might yet get moved there by the mods.

      Meanwhile, if you want something nice (if eccentric), try the Still Life Cafe in Independence. For a low-key lunch, I'd go with the Alabama Hills Cafe in Lone Pine. Those are about the only worthwhile places I've found south of Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, and those towns are rather closer to Reno than LA.

      1. re: Bradbury

        Thanks...thought I had put it on California board. New at this! Appreciate any help I can muster. Will be driving alone in unfamiliar territory.

    2. Recommend first that you take Highway 99 and not Highway Five for more local dining options and interest. Highway 5 is a vast wasteland for dining options.

      8 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr

        > Highway 5 is a vast wasteland for dining options.

        Except for Harris Ranch and some good pupusas, that's generally true. But why take 99 either? 395 is a lot shorter, more scenic, and (mostly) less hot this time of year.

        1. re: Bradbury

          I'd certainly second the scenery of Highway 395, though it too is a vast culinary wasteland at least your soul gets fed. There used to be fresh peach milkshakes during the summer at a soft-serve place along the road in Minden/Gardnerville, but assume they are no longer there.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            I am going to guess it is gone - I grew up there and nothing rings a bell. Do you recall the name? I will throw out an idea for Basque food in Gardnerville at the JT though

          2. re: Bradbury

            395 is nice, but it isn't shorter. To Riverside or parts east, perhaps. To Vegas, certainly. To LA: probably not at all. To central LA, 395 will be about 30 minutes longer than 5 or 99, to the west side of LA, could be an hour or considerably more longer depending on traffic. If time is an issue, I'd take one of the Central Valley options. OTOH, if one takes 395, it isn't a total culinary wasteland. There is always the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining. Lots of very position mentions on the board, and expect crowds...(not to mention beautiful mountain views).

            As for the 99 vs 5 option: from Reno, 99 isn't necessarily any longer: particularly not right now, when there is construction on the 5 N of Bakersfield (check the CalTrans website: down to one lane in some places, with long delays). Merced is just about half way down the 99, and a good option in my home town is Bangkok Thai on Main Street, not far off the freeway. Main Street is a nice throw-back place to stretch your legs. The Cinema Cafe on Main Street is another excellent lunch option. Another great option, a bit further off the freeway, but well worth the detour, would be Jantz Cafe and Bakery in Atwater. Best pie ever, excellent soups and sandwiches. Lots of good stops in Fresno, though my favorites are not that close to the 99.

            but wait a minute: I just re-read your post and it sounds like you are considering meeting your friend somewhere between LA and Reno: really? (about a four plus hour drive for each of you). I was thinking you were looking for a pit stop while driving to LA.

            If the goal is a half way in between meeting place I'd head for Fresno (just a bit more than half way closer to LA), and head to Hunan. (though another post from Fresno's PolarBear says it will closing temporarily in September). Or search the boards for other Fresno options. Or perhaps I'd still go to Jantz. It is a comfortable place to hang out, and that pie is worth the drive from wherever.....

            Bangkok Thai Restaurant
            235 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340

            1. re: susancinsf

              one more try. ok, if this doesn't work, link from Firefox still broken?

              Hunan Restaurant
              6716 N Cedar Ave Ste 104, Fresno, CA 93710

              Jantz Cafe & Bakery
              987 Bellevue Rd, Atwater, CA

              Cinema Cafe
              661 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340

              1. re: susancinsf

                > To LA: probably not at all. To central LA, 395 will be about 30 minutes longer than 5 or 99, to the west side of LA, could be an hour or considerably more longer depending on traffic.

                Not to be pedantic, but 395 is 43 miles shorter than 99 regardless of whether you're going to central or west LA (Thanks, Google Maps!) The difference is even greater if you're heading somewhere east of the 605, in which case you'd want to take the Cajon Pass. Obviously, your driving speed has something to do with this, too...

                Anyway, the Whoa Nellie is another very good suggestion (along with the Alabama Hills Cafe and Still Life Cafe I noted above). Just avoid the Mt Whitney restaurant in Lone Pine, it's awful.

                Still Life Cafe
                135 S Edwards, Independence, CA 93526

                1. re: Bradbury

                  I was going by time, not distance. It may be a lesser distance, but it takes longer. More mountains, narrower road, lower speed limits. (as well as fewer food choices).

                  Check your google maps again, and look at estimated times this time.

                  Whoa Nellie is fairly far north if indeed OP is planning to meet somewhere half way.

                  1. re: Bradbury

                    Thanks...this has been very helpful

            2. The Scandinavian-themed town of Kingsburg off Highway 99 has the Dala Horse restaurant with its potential ethnic charms: It's the city with the water tower turned into a big Swedish farmhouse coffee pot - a sweet, tidy town with a sense of place.

              Dala Horse
              1531 Draper St, Kingsburg, CA 93631

              2 Replies
              1. re: glbtrtr

                In this neck of the woods I would opt for the original Sal's Mexican Restaurant in Selma. Fancy burrito (basted of course) or their slows braised ribs.

                Of course there's one in Fresno also.

                Sal's Mexican
                2163 Park St, Selma, CA 93662

                1. re: PolarBear

                  Adding link for Fresno.

                  Sal's Mexican Restaurant
                  7476 N. Fresno St.

                  Sal's Mexican Restaurant
                  7476 N Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93720