California transplants sometimes get the side-eye in Northern Nevada (as elsewhere), but to judge by local anticipation, especially online, that’s not going to be the case in Reno for Habit Burger and Canter’s Deli.
Habit Burger (formally, the Habit Burger Grill), the fast-casual chain founded in 1969 in Santa Barbara, Calif., opened May 24 in Circus Circus Reno. That same day, an outpost of Canter’s Deli, the beloved L.A. institution, debuted next door in the Silver Legacy.
The new restaurants are part of Eldorado Resorts’ ongoing investment in its three downtown properties: Circus Circus, Silver Legacy and the Eldorado.
In 2016, Nation’s Restaurant News named Habit Burger the second fastest-growing chain in the country. The restaurant, known for its char-broiled burgers, is the first in the new Circus Circus food court, a space provisioned with more than 200 seats in tangerine, hot pink and chartreuse.
“We’re very excited to be partners with the tri-properties team and to be in Reno and at the Circus Circus,” said Joe Sarkis, franchise business manager with Habit Burger, adding the chain currently has more than 170 locations nationwide, including four in Vegas.
Although May 24 is Habit Burger’s initial full-day of business in Reno, folks can get a taste of the char (and the tempura green beans) before then:
■ Beginning 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. May 20, the first 200 customers will receive a free Charburger, fries and drink;
■ From 5 to 7 p.m. May 21, all sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen Nevada, the breast cancer research and education organization; and
■ From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 23, all sales will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows.
Besides its signature Charburgers (also offered as lettuce wraps), the Habit Burger menu features a tri-tip steak sandwich, a veggie burger, a sushi-grade albacore tuna sandwich, and grilled chicken Caesar and Santa Barbara Cobb salads.
Habit Burger is near the Circus Circus Midway, on the walkway that connects the tri-properties. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
The wall-size menu just went up at Canter’s Deli, on the Silver Legacy’s main floor next to the new Poker Room.
The original Canter’s, now on North Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, opened in 1931; today, the third and fourth generations of the Canter family run the restaurant.
Over the years, Canter’s has become famous for its pastrami, corned beef, awards and celebrity customers. The Canter’s debuting May 24 in the Silver Legacy is one of a handful of locations beyond the mother deli.
In L.A., the restaurant portion of Canter’s is open 24 hours (the bar closes). In Reno, “the tri-properties have 24-hour restaurants, but we didn’t have a deli, so Canter’s is a great fit,” said Rob Stone, vice president of food and beverage for the properties. “It’s a whole new space”
That space features an open kitchen; tables and padded booths; a frieze of classic baseball images; a checked floor (almost a plaid); and a palette that incorporates white, gray, black and deep putty. The look is at once retro and modern.
The Silver Legacy kitchen is preparing menu items according to Canter’s recipes: tongue, chopped liver, lox, a soft-style matzo ball, black and white cookies and, of course, signature pastrami.
“It’s a navel cut (of the beef brisket),” said Thomas Hanson, executive chef of Eldorado Resorts. The navel end is especially suited to the slow cooking used to make pastrami.
The Canter’s Deli menu also offers dishes like chopped salad; egg and tuna salad sandwiches (from the Classics section); corned beef sandwiches; hot beef, turkey and pastrami dip sandwiches; and burgers, melts and panini.
There also are pickles and potato salads on the side; chocolate fudge cake; and a cheeseburger and fries for the kids.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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