Best ‘You Did All Your Errands’ Treat

The Banana Chocolate Milkshake at Scoopers

1356 Prater Way, Sparks

4040 Kietzke Lane, Reno

It’s a Thursday afternoon. You left work early to go to the dentist, and they said your teeth are perfect—no cavities. You just returned 40% of the items sitting in your trunk that needed returning. You even went to the post office and mailed three whole actual envelopes of mail.

You, my friend, deserve a little treat. Not just any little treat—an “I did all my errands, and now I get a little treat” treat.

The king of little treats is made at the historic drive-in restaurant Scoopers, which has served our community since 1980. At Scoopers, you can find a near-perfect ice cream treat: the chocolate banana milkshake, made from soft-serve ice cream, chocolate sauce and ripe bananas. This blended and lush dairy sensation perfectly balances sweet and tropical.

The Scoopers milkshake is well-crafted, remaining thick and drinkable to the last velvety-rich chocolate drop. Each sip sends you down a slide of chilly refreshing nostalgia, as the pops of soft, sweet banana add a slight toothsome textural surprise. It’s perfect for a hot day cool-down—or a winter reminder of summer love.

While there are tons of fantastic milkshake flavor combinations to try—considering there are 45 different flavors one could mix and match—the chocolate banana milkshake is a perfect thing in an imperfect world, and quite an ideal treat for doing some adulting.

—Michael Moberly

Best Fancy Tacos

Anna’s Taqueria

271 Wonder St., Reno

If the mere mention of a $26.99 plate of tacos makes you want to run screaming, hear me out: Anna’s Taqueria lives up to the price tag.

Anna’s packs quality ingredients (like ribeye steak) and innovative fillings (like bacon, roasted potatoes or slow roasted pork in a top-notch mole) into pillowy-thick, handmade corn tortillas. The vibe is casual; the flavors are sophisticated. The tacos are so oversized that an order of three might leave even a hearty eater with leftovers. But really, who doesn’t want giant, beautiful tacos with “marinated steak and grilled chicken with bell peppers and grilled, onions topped with our homemade serrano avocado sauce and melted cheese” for lunch tomorrow? Smaller tacos are available, too.

Street tacos are served in two quantities—six ($15.99) or all-you-can-eat ($25.99). Extra points for the cute, Wells Avenue-neighborhood yard, where most of Anna’s seating is.

—Kris Vagner

Best Potatoes


3886 Mayberry Drive, Suite D, Reno

The menu at this comfortable, fashionable West Reno eatery—the brainchild of Aubrey and Tyler O’Laskey of Perenn Bakery fame—is limited but mouthwatering.

Greek basics like rotisserie lamb, roast chicken, hummus and griddled pita are complex and indulgent while still hitting the comfort-food high notes. But if I could give you only one piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t overlook the potatoes.

The chefs here scoop up the seemingly infinite supply of schmaltz that drips from crackling, golden-brown chickens turning in a gleaming, multi-story rotisserie and use it to fry what may well be the crispiest potatoes anyone in Reno dares to serve. The crunch level is several notches above that of the crispiest French fry—but these spuds are still tender and steamy inside, and the sprinkling of oregano is perfect.

I would have still declared this place Potato Side Dish Heaven if they’d just stopped there, but Claio cranks these taters up to 11 with a side of rich, garlicky toum for dipping.

—Kris Vagner

Best Pizza for People Who Don’t Like Pizza

The Moustache Ride at Eclipse Pizza Company

3950 Mayberry Drive, Reno

I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of pizza. (Yeah, I know that makes me unusual.) I’ve always viewed pizza as a greasy disc with some sort of suspicious meat, semi-baked atop yellowed gelatinous blobs of flavorless cheese—all of which is laden with fat and sodium.

Well, Eclipse Pizza Company has recalibrated my tastebuds. Each bite of the Moustache Ride pizza is a delicious succulent mouthful of homemade tomato sauce, pesto, chicken, mozzarella, onions, spinach, Roma tomatoes, Parmesan and a zing of red pepper flakes. This pizza totally changed my mind!

—David Robert

Best Vietnamese Sandwiches

King’s Sandwiches

3683 Kings Row, Reno

Most Vietnamese restaurants offer just one kind of banh mi sandwich, usually with sliced pork as the protein.

But King’s Sandwiches, in northwest Reno, is a take-out only shop that offers a variety of Vietnamese sandwiches, as well as other delicacies you may not be able to find elsewhere. Banh mi sandwiches are served on French bread and resemble mini sub sandwiches, and can contain a variety of ingredients, with King’s offerings including cold jambon ham, sliced pork, barbecued pork, shredded pork and roasted pork. Some sandwiches include pâté, head cheese and other treats. There’s even a vegetarian sandwich.

The takeout eatery’s menu also features traditional spring rolls, barbecue rice noodles, and “pâté chaud,” a savory Vietnamese pastry. Drinks include fruit frappes, boba tea and boba slushies. Prices range from $7 for sandwiches to $13 for the most expensive non-sandwich offering.

—Frank X. Mullen

Best Prix Fixe

Fourk Kitchen

4991 S. Virginia St., Reno

Fourk Kitchen is a restaurant concept created by Paul Jansen, an executive chef, restaurateur and 24-year military veteran.

Here’s how it works: For $54 a person, you receive four set courses; the menu changes each month, and you can buy optional beer and wine pairings. (You know I am all about the wine.)

Fourk Kitchen is open four nights a week, Wednesday through Saturday, opening for happy hour at 5:30 p.m. (during which beer and wine is 24 percent off). All guests—reservations are required—must arrive by 6:15, and dinner starts at 6:30. There’s just one seating of 24 people per night.

The menu for September: Cobb salad; chipotle mac and cheese, with bacon and a panko topping; Peruvian chicken with aji amarillo sauce and corn elote; and, for dessert, doughnut tiramisu.

For just $54, it’s an amazing experience. Trust me.

—Steve Noel

Best Khao Soi Gai

Rice Box Kitchen

555 S. Virginia St., No. 103, Reno

Khao soi is a traditional northern Thai dish consisting of boiled and fried egg noodles, meat and veggies in a yellow curry-like broth. While it may sound simple, the flavors are bright and savory at Rice Box Kitchen, located in Midtown.

Prepared with house-made ingredients, Rice Box Kitchen’s khao soi consists of regular or fried chicken “cooked in a spicy, warming and aromatic paste,” which then simmers with vegetables in a coconut-milk broth. Finally, boiled egg noodles are added with fried noodles gracing the top; sides consisting of pickled veggies are offered. The result is a delicious creamy dish, full of plentiful meat and noodles. Rice Box Kitchen’s khao soi gai is as close to being in Thailand as you can get here in Reno.

If you’ve yet to give Rice Box Kitchen’s khao soi gai a go, do yourself a favor, and head over to Midtown. Finding parking is worth it! Owner Perapol Damnernpholkul also recently opened Noodle Box Kitchen, specializing in—you guessed it—noodle dishes, at 490 S. Center St.

—Loryn Elizares

Best Place to Watch Your Pizza Being Made—Without Sports

Mofo’s Pizza and Pasta

18180 Wedge Parkway, Reno

Also at 868 Tahoe Blvd., Suite 23, Incline Village

I like pizza, all types—thick, thin, classic, gourmet, New York, Chicago, you name it … just no cauliflower crust, please. However, I’ve become a regular at the Galena location of Mofo’s Pizza.

There are there three reasons I love Mofo’s. First is the pizza crust; it has a great flavor and texture—and you can’t have great pizza without a great crust.

Second: You can watch them make your pizza. There is something satisfying about watching the dough get tossed, the marinara sauce being spread, and the fresh toppings being heaped on, before it is all placed in the oven.

Third: You can actually sit and eat your pizza without having to watch 10 large-screen TVs playing sports. Sports bars are great, but I don’t need my pizza place to be one.

—Steve Noel

Best Place for a Salad (When No One Else Wants Salad)

Royce Burger Bar

115 Ridge St., Reno

It’s a Thursday night. You’ve spent the week cobbling together snacks for meals, and your body yearns for nutrition. Of all things, you’re craving greens.

You’re too lazy to go to the grocery store, yet not too lazy to grab dinner with friends. You pause. Do I … suggest we get salads? What a conundrum: Receive groans from your friends, or go with the flow? Still, anything’s better than the Ritz crackers and cheese spread you’ve had for dinner every night this week.

The solution hits you—Royce, the burger spot so casually delicious it can please everyone … which also offers the Biggest Little Salad.

Tender greens are coated in a sweet and tangy honey-balsamic dressing, bejeweled with melt-in-your-mouth roasted beets, and dotted with flecks of cotija cheese and delightfully crunchy sunflower seeds. The simple yet brilliant contrast of flavors and textures makes each bite more enticing than the last.

As your friends enjoy their burgers, wings and sandwiches, you smile. Mission accomplished. Just don’t forget to order a side of fries—because there’s nothing worse than being the friend who only orders salad and then eats everyone else’s fries.

—Maude Ballinger

Best Dispensary for Medical Cannabis

Silver State Relief

1175 E. Greg St., Sparks

After the recreational use of cannabis was allowed in Nevada in 2017, medical users became an afterthought at some dispensaries. Holders of a medical cannabis card can still go to the front of the line at most cannabis shops, but some of those businesses have trouble keeping the higher-potency medical-only products in stock. Also, although Nevada law allows medical users to purchase 2.5 ounces of bud—or the THC equivalent in other products such as edibles or tinctures—some dispensaries have a one-size-fits-all approach, limiting medical-card-holders to the recreational limit of 1 ounce of THC equivalent per visit. (This law will fortunately change next year.)

Silver State Relief in Sparks is an exception. The store has a fast-moving, separate line for medical card-holders. The large dispensary, which has friendly and knowledgeable budtenders, also stocks medical-only products, such as the 500-milligram Evergreen Organic (EGO) chocolate bars. Medical card holders also may buy the maximum amount of THC-equivalent products the law allows, which reduces the number of trips to the pot shop. It’s the best joint to buy medical joints.

—Frank X. Mullen

Best Place to Watch the Wild Things

Oxbow Nature Study Area

3100 Dickerson Road, Reno

For those who crave an easy walk in natural surroundings—or just want to sit and watch ducks, geese and ground-dwelling critters do their things—a wooded enclave in west Reno offers easy trails and a variety of park benches and tables.

Oxbow Nature Study Area is a 22-acre conservation area and public-access nature space with level hiking trails. It’s along the Truckee River and is home to a host of native wildlife.

The 0.8-mile loop trail is an easy walk that takes an average of 15 minutes to complete, even for an aging editor with two titanium knees. The trail is great for birding as well, and it’s such a hidden gem that it’s never crowded. The nature study area is open year-round and is a great place to monitor the turning of the seasons.

Leave your own fur babies at home, though: Dogs aren’t allowed where the wild things are.

—Frank X. Mullen

Best Community Farm

Reno Food Systems

3295 Mayberry Drive, Reno

The intersection of Mayberry Drive and McCarran Boulevard has a lot of neat niche businesses—but not enough people know about the active, community-based farm nearby.

Set on five acres of land originally owned by the Caughlin family, Reno Food Systems strives to create a “vibrant, resilient and just local food system cultivated by an empowered community.”

Each Sunday, the farm opens to the public and sells not only seedlings grown to thrive in our tough, high-desert environment, but also fresh produce, flowers and more. Membership is available for as little as $5 a month, which will give you bonuses like farm parties, you-pick fruits, veggies and flowers and workshops.

This little farm is doing some big things for our community as well. Reno Food Systems strives to give back, with a focus on aiding those facing food insecurity. The farm team helps prepare fresh fruit and vegetable dishes and partners with local food distribution programs, like Family Soup Mutual Aid, to help feed people in need. They also focus on training the next generation of farmers through educational internships.

Be sure to stop by Sundays for some locally grown produce—and to say hello to the resident goats while you’re at it!

—Loryn Elizares

Best Tamale-Maker

Guillermo “Memo” Plascencia, Memo’s Tamales

Can a tamale change your life? Maybe not, but Guillermo “Memo” Plascencia’s tamales come close. Served out of the back of a small purple truck, Memo’s tamales have become something of local legend, with people posting messages on places like Reddit trying to track down where he’ll be next.

His following has been steadily growing for years, with people waxing near-poetic about the smooth masa that surrounds a variety of fillings. Most popular are the green chili, pork and chicken tamales (in rojo and verde)—but Memo also has other delicacies up for grabs, like homemade ceviche, elote and snow cones. For those snow cones, he makes the syrups by hand and has flavors like coconut and vanilla—very refreshing when it’s hot out.

Memo and his purple truck can often be found around Midtown, especially on weekends. For bulk orders (and you will want to make a bulk order after one taste of tamale), or to find out where he’ll be next, call 775-954-3844.

—Loryn Elizares

Best River Spot for Kids

Crissie Caughlin Park

3415 Idlewild Drive, Reno

Nestled along a mellow, tree-lined portion of the Truckee River lies Crissie Caughlin Park. While it may be most known for its beautiful shade trees, abundant grass, playground and popular picnic areas, those aren’t the only draws this Reno park offers.

Searching for a place to take smaller kids to the Truckee River can be challenging. Near Verdi, the current is still strong; meanwhile, popular downtown parks like Idlewild and Wingfield can quickly become overcrowded.

A walk along the river’s shore at Crissie Caughlin Park will lead you to multiple small beaches with pools of water that are shallow enough for the little ones to play. These small pools are free of strong currents, but feature water deep enough to splash around and explore. You can also see lovely little waterfalls, as well as flora and fauna that make for great exploring (and photo ops!). The shade trees offer plenty of sun protection and a nice place to spread out on the grass for some snacks.

Bonus: Crissie Caughlin Park also has a small but nice playground, so if the kids didn’t get worn out by their river adventures, they can play off the rest of their excess energy there!

—Loryn Elizares

Best Free Outdoor Concert Series in Carson City

Levitt Amp at the Brewery Arts Center

449 W King St., Carson City

The Levitt Foundation—a national philanthropic group that aims to increase access to the arts—funds sound stages and concert series in around 30 small cities across the U.S. The idea, according to the foundation’s website, is to “transform underused public spaces into thriving community destinations.”

In Carson City, the underused public space is the parking lot of the Brewery Arts Center. Since 2016, the venue has been hosting free Saturday night concerts from mid-June to mid-August. Longtime local music promoter Spike McGuire, who’s also now the BAC’s executive director, has been pairing some of our region’s best singer-songwriters with national Latin, Indigenous, folk, world, jazz and rock bands.

This series offers concertgoers the best of all worlds. The shows are welcoming, free and convenient—street parking is a breeze—with reliably great lineups and fantastic sound quality.

This year’s series ended in August, but keep an eye out for next year’s schedule. Note to your 2024 self: Be sure to BYO chair. You can pack in food and drinks or purchase them from vendors.

Learn more at

—Kris Vagner

Best Walking Time Machine

Historic Reno Preservation Society Tours

It’s one thing to read about history, but exploring historic sites—and walking in the footsteps of the people who made history while hearing their stories—forges a more immediate connection to the past.

The Historic Reno Preservation Society, whose members lead tours of historic Reno neighborhoods from May through July each year, offers that kind of time machine. The tours showcase unique homes and commercial buildings; the guides, who have done extensive research, provide insight into the properties’ histories, architecture and cultural significance.

Some tours have themes, such as local literary landmarks, movie production sites and historic cemeteries. Other tours feature the history of the Truckee River, the stories of local parks, and the tales of Reno’s historic mansions and the people who once lived in them.

The short treks, which run about two hours, are free for HRPS members and $10 for non-members. Learn more at

—Frank X. Mullen

Best Century-Old Museum You Might Not Know About

W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum

Mackay School of Mines Building, University of Nevada, Reno

The Keck Museum opened in 1908 in the then-new Mackay Mines Building—and one of the best things about it is that, inside, it still looks like it’s 1908. On an ever-expanding campus of newer, larger, sleeker buildings, this one’s sun-faded brick facade, Neoclassical columns and heavy wooden front doors are a rare oasis of time travel.

Inside, the main exhibition room is lined wall-to-wall with practical, unfussy, wood-and-glass display cases filled with rows and rows of gem and mineral specimens. If you’re not already a geology buff, perhaps the fossilized mastodon foot, the pretty crystallization patterns or the opulent Tiffany silver collection will make your day.

You can also learn about the mining history that made this building—and this city—what they are.

—Kris Vagner

Best Museum Makeover

Stewart Indian School

1 Jacobsen Way, Carson City

The old gym at Stewart Indian School is among the buildings slated for renovations. The state has approved $4.6 million for renovations and new facilities.
The old gym at Stewart Indian School is among the buildings slated for renovations. The state has approved $4.6 million for renovations and new facilities.

Starting in 1879, Native American boarding schools kidnapped and assimilated Native children all over the U.S. and Canada. The Stewart Indian School opened in Carson City in 1890 and closed in 1980. For much of that time—and for much of the time since then—the stories of the school and the families affected by its assimilation efforts were kept hushed. No longer.

As of 2017, Stewart’s partially abandoned campus was open to visitors, but you had to stay outdoors, where you could take a self-guided, cell-phone audio tour of the dilapidated gym, dorms and other stone buildings, while listening to fascinating interviews—some heartbreaking, some heartwarming—with former students.

In 2018, the state allocated $4.6 million for capital improvements. (See “School Spirit,” RN&R, Jan. 4, 2018.) Early in 2020, the former superintendent’s building reopened as the shiny, new Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum, where displays of school memorabilia are paired with excellent wall text and sound recordings that bring the stories of the Stewart community—many generations of it—to life. There’s also a sunny art gallery, curated by Great Basin Native Artists director Melissa Melero-Moose and featuring rotating shows of traditional and contemporary artworks.

Even though the museum is now the shining jewel of this campus, the cell phone tour is still there, and we still recommend it. Learn more at

—Kris Vagner

Best Carson City Dog Park

Sonoma Park

1003 Sonoma St., Carson City

The best of breed winner in Carson City, in the category of dog (and people) parks, is Sonoma Park. The carpet of grass in the 1000 block of Sonoma Street, which includes a fenced dog-free playground, is a haven for pups and their humans.

Trees on the perimeter and several benches, both inside and outside of the playground area, ring the fully-fenced, five-acre expanse. The enclave attracts dog owners, their unleashed pets, and folks who show up to sit, converse and indulge in bombastic blarney. It’s a haven for doggos, their humans and pet-watchers.

One regular, who perches on a bench in the southeast corner—often with his pup—Misty, is a master of sardonic or silly sagacity. A plaque on that bench is dedicated in honor of Gino Guidice, Ph.D. It reads: “Pontifical Throne of Gino Guidice, Ph.D. Reviled, cursed, defiled and envied for being the humor-spewing bard of Sonoma Park, Carson City, NV. Dedicated 2/7/23.”

That’s just the kind of park it is.

—John Barrette

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