Reno’s Foodie Paradise: 3 Chef-Recommended Restaurants to Satisfy Your Hunger

Featured image showing Mark Estee, a pioneering chef, restauranteur and community leader in Northern Nevada, not to mention the star of Food Network’s Undercover Chef.

Reno’s Foodie Paradise: 3 Chef-Recommended Restaurants to Satisfy Your Hunger

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Are you a food enthusiast looking to explore one of Nevada’s culinary hotspots? You’re in luck! recently featured an article written by our very own Engrid Barnett who curated a list of three top-notch chef-recommended restaurants that are a must-visit for any discerning food lover. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds as we dive into the tantalizing world of Reno’s culinary landscape. See the original article on

Hungry? 3 Chef-Recommended Restaurants to Visit in Reno, Nevada

Discover a chef’s top picks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The lively energy, the friendly, welcoming people, the gorgeous views — there’s a long list of reasons people love RenoNevada. With so much to do and see, residents and visitors can pack their days with countless adventures. One segment of Reno that provides a plethora of new experiences is the city’s food scene, as it’s home to a melting pot of flavors.

To get you started on your food journey in Reno, we sought out Mark Estee, a pioneering chef, restauranteur and community leader in Northern Nevada, not to mention the star of Food Network’s Undercover Chef. Ahead, check out his top picks for each meal.

Two Chicks for Breakfast

Walking into Two Chicks is a wake-up call for the senses, from the bright red and yellow chicken-coop-themed interior to the smell of fresh coffee and pancakes. The restaurant, which puts a unique twist on your favorite breakfast and lunch dishes, is the brainchild of Nevada natives Haley Moseley (red chick) and Jessie Henderson (yellow chick). They opened their first location in 2014 and now have a second.

“Reno has a really strong breakfast culture, and Two Chicks really jumped on this when they came on the scene,” Estee says.

Two Chicks’ delicious menu keeps several Northern Nevadans from hitting the snooze button. A few must-try items include the vegan skillet (sweet potato home fries piled high with mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, butternut squash, asparagus, tomatoes, pico de gallo and guacamole), sage maple sausage and eggs, and pancake dippers (sourdough pancakes with a strip of bacon in the middle served with hot syrup). Tip: Ask for the pancake dippers to be made “king style” – this means they’re adorned with chopped bananas and peanut butter syrup.

Two Chicks also offers a large drink menu. Yes, you’ll find traditional breakfast mimosas, but the restaurant is also serving up unique house cocktails like the Morning Glory, a delicious mixture of vodka, coffee liqueur, coconut milk and cold brew coffee. Plus, you’ll find twists on the bloody mary and margarita.

Great Full Gardens for Lunch

Estee doesn’t hesitate when it comes to his must-try lunch spot — Great Full Gardens. Owners Gino and Juli Scala are passionate about providing wholesome and mouthwatering menu options that showcase Northern Nevada and Northern California farmers and vendors. They opened their first location in Reno’s Midtown District in 2013 and have added multiple locations over the years.

As for the menu, Great Full Gardens offers a wide selection of salads, bowls, sandwiches, liege waffles, pizza and a “live food” section, which showcases fresh, raw cuisine, like a power bowl made with veggies, avocado, hempseeds and lemon oil. For a stick-to-your-ribs meal, dive into the chipotle beef melt, which is made with all-natural thinly sliced Angus beef, chipotle aioli, pepper jack cheese, red onion and grilled red bell peppers. No matter what you order, you’ll walk away feeling healthier and satisfied.

In addition to scrumptious food, each Great Full Gardens restaurant offers a cheery, artsy, minimalist vibe that makes eating there a delight. Plus, the servers are friendly and prepared to recommend palate-pleasing dishes.

Estee can’t say enough about what Gino and Juli have done with their restaurants. He’s even drawn inspiration from their menu for some of the lip-smacking delights he serves at Great Basin Brewing.

Mark Estee

Thali for Dinner

For an off-the-beaten-path dining experience, Estee recommends Thali for dinner. This organic, vegetarian restaurant serves authentic North Indian cuisine and showcases fresh, locally grown produce. The atmosphere is vibrant and dynamic, from its brick interior to the abstract artwork and murals decorating its walls. Thali even has a collection of books patrons can peruse while enjoying their meal.

Whether you opt for a combination plate or a well-portioned bowl, you’ll receive a mouthwatering meal that combines an impeccable presentation, a spicy aroma and perfectly balanced flavors and textures.

“Thali is family owned, with Serj Johal at the helm. He does a great job over there, especially right now when there’s so much going on in downtown Reno,” Estee says. “From stews to chutneys and more, it’s a fun way to eat family-style. Best of all, food is always available when you’re looking for a late-night snack after Artown (an annual music and art festival), concerts and other special summer events.”

Grafted Whiskey & Wine

Whiskey, Wine & More

In addition to the three spots listed above, Estee has a few other recommendations. Grafted Whisky & Wine Bar at Rancharrah is the perfect spot for pre-meal drinks or after-dinner cocktails. He says they have an “unbelievable whiskey selection,” and he loves having the chance to “try different blends and cocktails, letting them steer you into what is really good.” 

Armando & Sons at Rancharrah is what Estee calls an “over-the-top butcher shop” combined with a burger bar that’s straight out of San Francisco. As a purveyor of fine foods, it boasts only top-notch products. You’ll find every type of meat you could ever want, along with a selection of locally sourced items.  

Finally, Estee recommends the Great Basin Community Food Co-op for local produce. Community-owned since 2005, Great Basin places a premium on socially just food produced via environmentally sound processes. They opt for organic, non-GMO items that are nutritious, delicious and wholesome.

Reno’s Foodie Paradise

Reno, Nevada, isn’t just renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant nightlife; it’s also a burgeoning foodie haven. The city’s culinary landscape boasts an impressive array of top-notch restaurants that cater to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re a fan of fusion cuisine, rustic Italian, or healthy eats, Reno has something for everyone.

Work Live Play Reno Tahoe is a community-wide initiative powered by EDAWN to recruit skilled workers with all levels of expertise to join the Northern Nevada workforce. Get started by submitting your resume, browse hiring companies, and connect directly with Lindsey, our Community Liaison who will help lead your quest for employment. Working Remotely? Check out our extensive list of Remote Worker ResourcesStudents can also participate! Visit our new Student Portal to start making connections for your future.

Engrid Barnett is an award-winning travel writer and digital content marketer based in Western Nevada. Recognized by the Nevada Press Association in 2019, her work has been featured in Nevada Magazine, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Tahoe South, Rova, American Trails, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.

Follow along with us each month for Engrid’s special “Work-Life” review – featured exclusively on

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