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THE PLACE: The Red Hut Cafe on West Moana Lane opened in November 2012, becoming the sixth Red Hut in the region (four others are at Tahoe; one is in south Carson City).

The restaurants go back to the original Red Hut Waffle Shop that opened in 1959 in South Lake Tahoe (it’s still going strong).

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RED HUT CAFE & SODA FOUNTAIN

Address: 3480 Lakeside Drive

Phone: 775-828-7366

Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily

On the web:www.redhutcafe.com

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What’s around $10 or less: All breakfast items except three omelets; some sandwiches and burgers.

THE LOOK: Red Hut Cafe occupies the building that once housed Blue Bounty, one of Reno’s first gourmet markets and independent seafood purveyors.

The soaring space admits plenty of natural light. The restaurant pays homage to old-time Reno baseball and Tahoe sports (two lift chairs, for instance, hang from above). One corner houses a vintage-inspired soda shop, and signature red stools, chairs and booths populate the room.

THE MEAL: I can’t get up early enough for the standard breakfast hour, and my friend has a mid-afternoon meeting, so we split the difference and settle on a 10:30 a.m. meal. Red Hut is the ideal spot to visit because it serves breakfast and lunch all day.

I’m immediately drawn to the Double Diamond burger, a bad boy build out of one-third pound patty, onion ring, bacon, cheddar, Thousand Island sauce, barbecue sauce, jabs of jalapeño, and pickles.

The burger is wonderfully messy and backed by a mess of fries. I’m a heedless consumer of napkins, so I have to ask for more midway through lunch.

My friend orders on the breakfast side: two scrambled eggs (“a little loose, please”), hash browns, sourdough toast, and four fat strips of jalapeño bacon with some real kick.

“Where should I put this?” one of our servers asks as a bowl of biscuits and gravy arrives just after the burger and eggs. “In the middle,” I mumble and point, my mouth full of Double Diamond and fries.

KUDOS: There are plenty of options around $10 or less, and portions are generous. I appreciate how the servers works as a team, the nearest free person taking care of refills or hot sauce requests or clearing dishes.

And the servers have a fun, friendly, easy air — it’s that way at every Red Hut I’ve visited (even during insanely busy times in the Carson outpost).

QUIBBLES: The gravy is good and thick and peppery, but the biscuits it blankets are a bit dry and tough. Maybe they simply waited too long to be deployed.

ALTERNATIVES: Breakfast: pancakes, waffles with toppings, French toast, two eggs and various proteins, house and build-your-own omelets.

Lunch: tuna salad or tuna melt sandwiches, Red Hut BLT and turkey salad, bonzai burger with pineapple and jalapeño ranch, and a bunless burger or chicken breast with cottage cheese and fruit.

RETURN TRIP?: I really like this 10:30 a.m. meal. Not too early, and I can skip lunch later if I get busy.

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