South Reno is one of the more family-friendly areas of Northern Nevada—and that makes South 40 a perfect fit.

South 40—its name is a reference to what was once one of the largest ranches in the region—spans one full acre, the perfect size to allow kids and adults to enjoy a variety of activities, dining experiences, music, gaming (the adult kind and the kid kind) and more.

Formerly known as The Zeppelin—also a nod to the immense size of the space at 1445 South Meadows Parkway—the property was purchased about eight months ago by local dining dream team Dennis Banks, Art Hinckley, Chuck Jeaness and Kevin Jepsen. Known for hotspots like Norte Cantina, Napa Sonoma South and Mexcal, the group tapped its collective expertise to create the South 40 concept and quickly recruited Al Karsok to oversee the project. Karsok brings decades of experience to the table, having managed the parent company that owns the aforementioned restaurants. The restaurateurs also brought on Blaire Smulyan as the restaurant general manager, and Russell Upton as director of catering. With plans to make South 40 a premier events venue—there are two banquet spaces that fit 70-150 guests each, both with private entrances—catering is a top priority.

Bringing the food to life is executive chef Alfred Johnson, well-known as the multi-award-winning former executive chef at the Bonanza Casino’s Cactus Creek Prime Steakhouse.

This fantastic lineup of pros was put to the test during South 40’s recent soft opening, as they debuted an abbreviated menu—a delicious teaser of what’s to come when the full menu launches in early September. Guests should come prepared to enjoy an array of dishes ranging from sesame-crusted ahi, to lobster mac and cheese, to varied pizzas. On the beverage side, the menu includes custom cocktails and an array of wine and whiskey. South 40 opened serving lunch and dinner, while management plans to soon phase in Saturday/Sunday breakfast and brunch. Gaming is slated to be added to the restaurant’s bar in the new year.

To get started on the South 40 journey, guests enter through the “entertainment” area’s bulk candy store and retail center. Get nostalgic and grab some jelly beans from the 25-flavor Jelly Belly bulk dispenser, or go with treats from local candy-maker Kimmie Candy. Dots Ice Cream, Napa Sonoma gift baskets and a wide selection of greeting cards round out the offerings.

The arcade includes games for players young and old; the vast space features games such as Halo Fireteam Bravo, Guitar Hero, Big Bucks, Mario Cart, Lane Master, Down the Clown, Willy Wonka Coin Pusher, Connect 4 Hoops, and even a ring toss; people can also enjoy virtual reality rides such as Kong: Skull Island and Virtual Rabbids.

“So many families living in south Reno don’t want to drive all the way to downtown, midtown or Sparks to do fun activities,” Jepsen said. “We want this to be the place for everybody—adults, kids, families—so that’s just what we’ve created.”

PHOTO/DAVID ROBERT: South 40 co-owner Dennis Banks: “Our hope is to become the go-to location for a good time.”

The Backyard at South 40 is a fully customizable space. Patrons are invited to “create their own living room” with modular, moveable couches and food service from either South 40’s Backyard Snack Bar or the restaurant. Activities abound, including cornhole, six miniature bowling lanes, darts, axe-throwing and ping-pong tables. The athletic set can enjoy challenges thrown by the hyper pitch machine, Super Kixx Pro soccer kicker and Golden Tee golf. DJs and bands will perform outdoor concerts on the weekends. For those more concerned with food and drink, the aforementioned Backyard Snack Bar offers a specialty beer wall flanked by TVs galore and a 20-foot projector screen, offering all the sports viewing fans can handle.

Speaking of golf, Golf NV is the golf shop at South 40. The shop by itself is 9,000 square feet, and plans for the space include practice simulator bays, private-\ lesson rooms and a putting green, along with all the latest golf equipment, name-brand clothing and merchandise.

“We hope community members will choose us when they’re in need of a venue for any type of celebration,” Banks said. “Our hope is to become the go-to location for a good time.”

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Cheree Boteler is the founder of Hungry in Reno, a brand created to support local food and drink establishments by sharing reputable, interesting, innovative and exciting food and drink experiences with...

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