Only on RGJ: 4 more restaurants aim for Midtown Reno (plus, news about parking there)
Bread + cheese + heat = melty heaven. For April 2018, National Grilled Cheese Month, we celebrate some of Reno's top grilled cheese sandwiches through the years. Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ
Midtown's plate pileth high, its cup runneth over, as four new food and drink establishments (plus valet parking) are in the works for Reno's buzziest district.
Tolles Development Company and Marmot Properties have signed the tenants as part of their acquisition of seven Midtown properties last October.
Openings are planned for July.
The developers said they want to create the right mix of residential, office and retail businesses for Midtown's next chapter. But along with that mix comes the question: What is the carrying capacity of Midtown?
"With the new apartments we're bringing online and the new offices we're bringing online and these new businesses, we think we're just getting started here." said Eric Raydon, a co-founder of Marmot Properties.
It's crucial, he added, to bring aboard "new businesses that have a broader draw" beyond hipsters, typically seen as Midtown's target cohort.
The intersection of South Virginia Street and Saint Lawrence Avenue (which becomes the entrance to the Sticks development) already offers 10 food and drink establishments within one block of the crossing. Two of the new spots will make that an even dozen.
"We're trying to make these four corners the heart of Midtown," said Par Tolles, principal of Tolles Development.
1. Brauhaus 701:
Fady Mehanna, a Reno engineer and restaurateur, is opening BrauHaus 701 in the former Good Luck Macbeth theater space at 713 S. Virginia St, in St. Lawrence Commons, which already houses the new JoStella Coffee Company.
BrauHaus, inspired by German beer halls, will feature craft beer, homemade pretzels, sausages and cheesesteaks (Mehanna owns Philly's NV, a cheesesteak restaurant in the Tahoe-Reno Industrail Center east of Sparks).
"I'm excited about what he's doing," Tolles said. "He's an experienced operator, it's a good comfort food type of option, and it's different than any other concept we have down here now."
2. Whispering Vine
As first reported by @RGJTaste, Curtis Worrall, founder of three Whispering Vine Wine Co. stores, is taking the pours to Midtown with a fourth shop in the glass-walled space now vacant at the entrance to the Sticks development.
When it's done, the newest Whispering Vine, 772 S. Virginia St., will feature retail wine and spirits, a tasting bar, a fire pit on the terrace to the east and food delivered by restaurants in the Sticks center.
"It's going to bring a different demographic down here," Tolles said. "It appeals to a broader demographic than just millennials, and it complements the restaurants that are already here.'
3. Food & Drink
Martin Crossing, 955 S. Virginia St., lies three blocks south of Sticks, across Martin Street from Craft Wine & Beer. The other two new places are debuting in this development.
For the past two years, Aaron Foster has owned Food & Drink in Graeagle, Calif., about 60 miles northwest of Reno in Plumas County. He's bringing Food & Drink down-mountain to the space previously occupied by Happy Happy Joy Joy at the western end of Martin Crossing.
"I have packed up and moved to Reno, hoping to get in on that town's booming economy and bring some yummy food to the exploding food scene," Foster writes on his business website.
Food & Drink will specialize in tacos and pizza, as it did in the mountains. The Graeagle restaurant offered dishes like slow-cooked pork shoulder tacos built with housemade tortillas and a fig and pig pizza loaded with shaved asiago, shredded mozzarella, gorgonzola, fig preserves, prosciutto and balsamic glaze.
4. The Emerson
The Emerson will occupy the southeast corner of the Martin Crossing development, currently vacant. The lounge will feature craft cocktails and other beverages paired with light bites.
"It's going to be very urban chic but very friendly, too," Raydon, the Marmot Properties co-founder, said.
"We are doing a major re-skin on that (955 S. Virginia St.) building, making it have an architectural vernacular that's appropriate for hot hip places."
Leave it with valet
A lack of plentiful parking has been a complaint since developers first turned their attention to Midtown Reno.
"Parking is tight," Tolles acknowledged. "On the one hand, people are getting used to it -- it's a dense urban environment. On the other hand, we understand we have to make it easier for our customers."
The business partners are introducing valet parking on Fridays and Satudays in Midtown.
From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days, cars can be dropped off at the Sticks development. From 4:30 p.m. on, valet is run out of the parking lot the developers own directly adjacent to Midtown eats, at the corner of South Virginia and Cheney streets.
The developers said valet parking, just debuted, is costing them $5,000 a month. The service is free for now, but in fiture, tenants and the public might be charged a fee to help defray the cost.