Midtown Eats moves into stylish new space
Midtown Eats has gone around the corner.
The pioneer of Midtown dining moved about a week ago to 18 Cheney St., half a block south and a scooch east from its former South Virginia Street storefront in the Shea’s building.
With the new Midtown Eats, owners Ivan Fontana and Sadie Bonnette have established a small food and drink demesne. The couple also owns Death & Taxes — craft cocktails muddled with moody swank — next door on Cheney Street.
Address: 18 Cheney St.
On the web:www.facebook.com/midtownreno
“We’re finally done,” Bonnette said the other morning, sounding happy. “It feels like it’s been so long because at the time we purchased the building a year ago, everybody knew right away what we were planning.”
The building, once home to a CPA and a hair salon, encompasses about 2,500 square feet, plus basement. That’s roughly double the size of the old Midtown Eats.
“The biggest increase is the size of the kitchen,” Bonnette said. “The old kitchen was very, very tiny.” In fact, the kitchen (now with walk-ins and storage) and the gorgeous bar take up about half of the ground floor space.
The bar stretches much of the dining room, partitioning off the kitchen as its gleaming copper exoskeleton frames rows of spirits and glassware. The bar (with purse hooks beneath) is open at the back to offer views of the culinary action.
At night, Bonnette added, “the light from the kitchen automatically lights up the bottles.”
With the bar, Midtown Eats seats about 70, about double the capacity of the old restaurant. The dining room mingles loft-ish, industrial chic with a stylish rusticity.
There are exposed beams and ducts, a long wooden banquette against one wall, tables supported by old mining tracks from Virginia City, a thick rope wall diving diners from the restroom entrances, and a wine rack fashioned from a large piece of walnut fitted with copper (function meeting art).
Zac Bryson, a local wooden furniture maker and wood artist, is responsible for much of the look.
Light slants through windows set high in one wall and through those facing Cheney Street, making Midtown Eats light and bright.
Lots of draft
The menu from the old restaurant is being served, Bonnette said, while the crew settles into Cheney Street. Eventually, menu changes will occur.
Some beverage changes, however, were introduced with the opening of the new location. Midtown Eats now offers 13 draft lines for beer, two draft cocktails, and house red and white wines on draft.
As for the former Midtown Eats on South Virginia, the lease doesn’t end until June 2017. What to do with the space in the meantime? Private gatherings are one option. Something savory and hand-held is another.
Her husband Ivan, Bonnette said, “is thinking of doing a taco shop.”