PHOTO/DAVE ROBERT: The Water bar at the Sparks Marina.

Those who stress over holiday cooking, not to mention doing dishes, have always had an easy out, if they can afford it: go out to dinner and let the restaurants do the heavy lifting.

In years past, casino eateries and buffets were the go-to options for Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts. These days, more and more stand-alone restaurants are offering dining choices, from traditional holiday fare to fine dining and more eclectic menu choices.

Here’s a look at some of the local offerings:

The Shore Room, Reno Renaissance Hotel, One South Lake St, Reno (775) 321-5867

 “I think for Thanksgiving people always want to try something new for the first time. At The Shore, we do a home-cooked dinner executed at a high level,” said Sean MunShaw, executive sous chef.

He said the restaurant, located in the Reno Renaissance Hotel, offers “an elevated dining experience, everything from the food, to the service, to the ambiance.”

Spinach and arugula salad at The Shore.

On Thanksgiving, The Shore will be serving a three-course prix fixe menu starting between $55-65 dollars that will include either the classic turkey dinner with stuffing, potatoes and a homemade cranberry sauce, or a salmon/steak entree option. This will come with a soup or salad course and for dessert a choice of pumpkin or pecan pie.

In past years, The Shore has always been packed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  Munshaw thinks this year will be no different. “We are always busier than anticipated, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s it’s all hands on deck.”

The Chart House, 392 NV-207, Stateline (775) 588-6276

The Chart House at Lake Tahoe is open 365 days a year, and Thanksgiving is one of the eatery’s busiest days. This holiday, the menu, for $65, features a three-course meal that starts with a choice of lobster bisque, clam chowder, or a seasonal salad. The main course, of course, stars a turkey, marinated in a sage butter. Sides include cornbread stuffing, and a choice of mashed or sweet potatoes with homemade gravy. The Chart House offers many other entrée options such as a slow roasted prime rib, pork glazed mahi mahi, Chilean sea bass or an apple brandy king salmon. The dessert options of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, lava cake or cheesecake top off the meal.

 Jake Petrella, the restaurant manager, is expecting a full house. “ We are definitely seeing a lot more families coming in, before you would see a couple that maybe couldn’t go back home to be with their family, but now we are serving parties of 10 coming in for the occasion.”

The Sparks Water Bar, 325 Harbour Cove Dr Suite101, Sparks (775) 351-1500

One of the newer restaurants in the Reno-Sparks area, The Sparks Water Bar, aims to offer patrons an elegant Thanksgiving feast with a view overlooking the Sparks Marina. The Thanksgiving menu starts with a choice of roasted butternut squash bisque or a holiday raspberry pear salad. For the main course, slow roasted turkey with giblet gravy is accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry cornbread stuffing, green beans with toasted almonds and applewood smoked bacon. Honey pineapple glazed ham is a turkey-free option. That entrée includes pecan and brown sugar mashed sweet potatoes, and the same green beans. The dessert course is a warm apple or pumpkin pie a la mode. The regular dinner menu will also be available for orders.

PHOTO/DAVE ROBERT: The Water Bar at the Sparks Marina.

For a typical holiday night, The Sparks Water bar is expecting 600-700 reservations. “I think a lot of families just don’t want to cook, and here we are creating a super special experience,” said Alli Villines, marketing manager. The restaurant really has the feel of a special occasion dinner. The service and atmosphere is akin to that on a luxury cruise ship. Patrons that arrive in late afternoon can enjoy a spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada sunset along with their holiday meals.

Desserts and drinks

Homage, 519 Ralston St, Reno, (775) 323-8952

If you’re cooking the main courses for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, but need an extra hand in the dessert department, Homage Coffee Kitchen and Bakery is offering a special holiday dessert menu. The treats include: salted caramel pie, apple sticky toffee pudding, black bottom pecan pie, and a cranberry orange cheesecake. Nov. 19 is the last day to order for Thanksgiving. They also offer festive favorites such as quiches, scones, cookie dough and cinnamon rolls.

Rum Sugar Lime, 1039 South Virginia St, Reno (775)384-102

Rum Sugar Lime in Midtown is the place to be for a specialized holiday drink. The bar is starting to roll out its seasonal drink menu which includes the Fletchers Folly-made with plantation Rum, house butterscotch syrup and soda. The drink is an ode to Harry Potter’s butterbeer.

“I was at Disneyworld in Orlando and had Harry Potter’s butterbear and thought how can I make this better?” said Loren Devincenzi, general manager of RSL. “You get sick of making Manhattans, I usually start with something I don’t like and build on it.”

Devincenzi said making the perfect cocktail is an art and sometimes takes 15 to 20 different variations until the result is ready to be put on the menu. The bakchata, which combines the flavors of horchata and baklava, with subtle hints of walnut, pistachio is another seasonal favorite. The drink gets rave reviews as a great winter cocktail.

Rum Sugar Lime is not open on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but the owners expect a great holiday season nonetheless.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of their biggest nights of the year. The bar also recently opened a private event space in the back of the building called Nautilus. The private event space is a hospitable and intimate setting for small gatherings, and is expected to get booked up this winter for events like company holiday parties or networking meetings.

Other businesses in the area that will be doing Christmas Eve/New Year’s Eve dining that are putting the last finishing touches on their menus include:

  • Wild River Grille,17 South Virginia St, Reno (775) 284-7455
  • Bistro 7,711 South Virginia St, Reno (775) 851-9463
  •  Washoe Public House, 275 Hill St, Reno (775) 322-2710
  • Beaujolais Bistro, 73 Riverside Drive, Reno (775) 323-2227
  • Land Ocean Grille, 13967 South Virginia St #914, Reno (775) 993-2499

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this most needed information for Thanksgiving dining. I certainly will make an effort to visit one of these lovely Restaurant. P.S. Very well written article.

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