JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: Carnitas y Tortas Ahogadas is opening in the former Antojito's Mexican Food on Kietzke Lane.

In this holiday season, I bring you good tidings of great joy: Momma Bears is being reborn, and the owner of Blind Dog Tavern is opening a new bar.

Momma Bears, a favorite dive destination now closed, is receiving new life as an Irish bar. And Josh Callen is building on Blind Dog to set up the pour in the heart of Midtown.

Other good tidings from the food and drink front: board game buzz, drowned tortas, a bit of the bayou, a once and future Midtown wine bar, pizza down from the Lake, and some of Reno’s best sushi moving a few doors down.

Let’s get to the flavors.


BAR N’ GAMES, 594 N. Lake St., suite 1

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: Bar N’ Games is at North Lake and East Sixth streets.

You’ve got to love the owners of Bar N’ Games. For their website photos, they’ve openly swapped in pictures of models, including one of Marky Mark in his Calvins from the early 90s. The collision of cocktails and board games fuels the good vibrations at Bar N’ Games.

The sign is up, construction cones are out and there’s an ongoing GoFundMe page. The website is a great read, too.


CARNITAS y TORTAS AHOGADAS GUADALAJARA 3, 3338 Kietzke Lane, in the Sportsman’s Warehouse center

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: A signature torta ahogada is served in a red chile sauce.

Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, is widely acknowledged as one of the centers of Mexican gastronomy. Carnitas y Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara has two locations in Las Vegas. The Reno outpost will occupy the storefront space that housed Antojitos Mexican Food for many years.

Torta ahogada, a signature dish, features Mexican sourdough sandwiches moistened by and served in a red chile sauce (“ahogada” means drowned). Check out No. 3’s Facebook page for more menu items.


HUCKLEBERRY’S, 189 Damonte Ranch Parkway, southeast corner of Walmart center

HUCKLEBERRY’S: This small chain touts its “Southern cookin’ with a California twist.”

Huckleberry’s, an 18-restaurant chain, serves Southern-inspired food in spots that celebrate the bayou with weeping willow trees, fireflies and zydeco music. Raman Dhillon, the franchisor of several Huckleberry’s in Northern California, signed a multi-unit deal with the company in late summer that includes a restaurant in the South Reno Walmart center.

Huckleberry’s serves breakfast and lunch, with dishes like chicken and waffles, andouille eggs Benedict, beignets with fruit toppings, a shrimp po-boy and Creole catfish over jambalaya.


MIDTOWN SPIRITS • WINE • BITES, 1527 S. Virginia St., in the Sports West center

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: Midtown Spirits Wine Bites is planned for the old Midtown Wine Bar.

Midtown Wine Bar has closed, but plans call for it to re-open in January (including renovations) as Midtown Spirits Wine Bites. Locals Anthony Layton-Matthews and Amanda Flangas are the owners. The restaurant recently appeared before the Reno City Council for approval of a privileged business license (cabaret).


MOFO’S PIZZA & PASTA, 18180 Wedge Parkway, in the Raley’s center

DICKSON COMMERCIAL GROUP: Mofo’s Pizza, an Incline Village staple, is renovating a Wedge Parkway space for its Reno restaurant.

This past summer, Mofo’s Pizza & Pasta of Incline Village leased 2,800-square-feet in the Raley’s center on Wedge Parkway in South Reno. Renovations are underway.

Mofo’s sends out classic pizzeria appetizers, New-York style pies fashioned from dough made fresh daily, Italian sandwiches, salads, and pastas like lasagna, carbonara, and spaghetti and meatballs. The Morrison family has owned Mofo’s for 35 years.


POOR DEVIL SALOON, 820 S. Virginia St.

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: The owner of Blind Dog Tavern in downtown Reno is planning a bar in the former Midtown KaiaFIT.

Full disclosure: Blind Dog Tavern ranks among my neighborhood bars. It’s a 3-minute walk (or stumble) from my condo in downtown Reno. But preference aside, Blind Dog manages to pull off the trick of being hip and sleek and cocktail-forward while also being friendly.

Which makes it even more noteworthy that Josh Callen, owner of Blind Dog, plans to debut Poor Devil Saloon in the old KaiaFIT digs in the bar-laden center of Midtown. Josh confirmed things in a quick chat the other evening. It’s early days for the saloon, but meantime, who else loves that cross-training discipline is giving way to cocktail indulgence?


SHANTY DOLAN’S, 211 Keystone Ave.

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: A nighttime view of Shanty Dolan’s, which is taking shape on Keystone Avenue.

I’m going to seem like a drunk, but here’s another full disclosure: Momma Bears was my favorite dive bar, and not just because of stiff $5 drinks. I left my wallet one night; the owner called me the next morning to pick it up. The bar closed at the start of the pandemic and never re-opened.

“Momma” Deb Shacklett sold the building in January to the Thomas S. Dolan Trust. (It’s unclear if this entity is associated with the prominent Dolan family of Reno.) Shane Dolan appears in public records related to the liquor license application. A construction worker doing renovations told me Shanty Dolan’s would be an “Irish gypsy bar.”


SUSHIMI’S, 3005 Skyline Blvd., suite 160

JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT/RN&R: Sushimi’s will re-open a few doors down from its old spot in its Skyline Drive center.

La Vecchia Ristorante closed this past June. Sushimi’s, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant a few doors down in the same Skyline Boulevard center, was looking to expand. Sushimi’s decided to take over the La Vecchia space (with the original sushi premises perhaps becoming a café).

The sign now has been installed at Sushimi’s new home, and the City Council considered the restaurant’s supplemental alcohol license in early November.


Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor for Reno News & Review. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsJLW or on Facebook personally or at @FoodNevada. Sign up here for the Reno News & Review free weekly newsletter highlighting our most recent stories.

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Johnathan L. Wright

Johnathan L. Wright is the former food and drink editor of Reno News & Review. During his career, Johnathan has won numerous awards for his work, including several Association of Food Journalists Awards...

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  1. Shawn Giordano, my favorite Chef left Las Vegas for Reno to open a new restaurant. Has he done it yet? Have you seen Shawn? Please advise! Thanks.

  2. I love keeping up with what’s new, but this article is a little old, especially with Covid largely over, for now, would love an update on what’s coming, like any commitments to Red Dist. Retail?

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