After holiday splurging, 9 Reno spots to eat cheap
Food openings flourished in the past year with Korean, downtown vegan, poke everywhere and more. Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ
As the new year begins, it's all about "lighter."
The days? They're getting lighter earlier. You're trying to eat lighter, too (at least some of the time). And your wallet — it's also lighter, thanks to holiday spending.
To help make that last lightness more bearable, we're sharing places around town where you can eat well for about $10 (and often less). With these meal deals, you can save up for Valentine's Day, which is only a month away.
Casa Grande 2
Casa Grande 2 enjoys a prime perch: the eastern edge of the Caughlin Ranch center overlooking the city. The space once housed Francis' Asian Bistro and, before that, Café Soleil.
A regular combination plate ($10) features a chicken enchilada and, instead of a taco or tostada, a pork tamal for a $1 upgrade. The tamal is made using a firmer style of dough (as opposed to looser, creamier versions).
Full Belly Deli
Full Belly Deli occupies a Mill Street storefront that once housed, among other things, Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop. There are high and standard tables, a couple of flat-screens and Full Belly Deli merch on display in a corner. You order at the counter.
A Cuban sandwich ($9) hits all the standard notes: roast pork, ham, Swiss, pickles and swipes of Dijon. A French-style hoagie roll comes closest to Cuban bread. To-go sandwiches are bundled in waxed kitchen paper.
Habit Burger (formally, the Habit Burger Grill) opened in late May 2017 in Circus Circus Reno. The restaurant is part of Eldorado Resorts’ ongoing investment in its three downtown properties.
Charburgers are Habit Burger's signature offering. A Double Char with cheese ($5.55) includes fries and a drink. Charburgers also can be ordered as wraps.
Honey Bakery, a Chinese bakery, occupies a modest storefront in Keystone Square, a center that meanders along Keystone Avenue from Interstate 80 to West Fourth Street.
Cases containing golden buns ($1.20-1.50 each), lightly sweet meets savory, dominate the front of the bakery. The buns are made several times a day; fillings range from curried chicken to barbecued pork to corn and ham. One of Reno's best to-go meal deals.
Poké King in Northwest Reno combines the meal-in-a-bowl trend with Hawaiian-inspired poké (seasoned raw seafood), traditional and modern flourishes, and a build-your-own approach.
One regular bowl ($10.95) consists of white rice (brown is an option), three scoops of protein (ahi, yellowtail, shrimp), sesame shoyu sauce, seaweed salad (wakame), and a frizzle of fried garlic to finish. Not traditional poke but not anything crazy, either.
Rapscallion happy hours
Rapscallion, the longtime seafood spot on South Wells Avenue, turned 40 in 2017, with renovations to its expanse of brick, brass and polished wood. The bar offers two happy hours: 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to close, Monday through Saturday.
A half-order of fish and chips ($7.50) is nicely snap-crisp and arrives on a bed of french fries. A small ramekin of ketchup and one divided between housemade cocktail and tartar sauces — a sort of condiment yin and yang — stand sentry.
Red Hut Cafe
Red Hut Cafe on West Moana is the sixth Red Hut in the region (four others are at Lake Tahoe, one in 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).
Red Hut serves breakfast and lunch all day (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.). A breakfast-for-lunch outing ($10.49) features two scrambled eggs, hash browns, sourdough toast, and four fat strips of jalapeño bacon with some real kick.
SF Kitchen, at the corner of Mill Street and Kietzke Lane, completes the east end of a center where Asian restaurants have flourished for at least three decades. The kitchen sends out Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.
A bowl of No. 3 pho (rare steak and meatball; $8.50) incorporates a milder-style broth, though the soup is decently provisioned with meat. Recent reports say SF Kitchen has deepened the character of the broth.
Tacos El Rey 3
Tacos El Rey 3 is the newest member of the Tacos El Rey family, lying across a South Reno center from Total Wine & More. The restaurants draw crowds for $1 (and change) Guadalajara-style tacos topped with a dozen different meats.
A quick meal begins with one pastor taco and one cabeza (beef head). The cabeza is tender and gently savory, the pastor juicy and slightly crisp, with a nip of chile. Two salsas also arrive: One offers more vinegar, the other more heat.