SANTA FE RESTAURANT
Address: 235 N. Lake St.
To re-open sometime in May 2019
When the renovations are complete, they will include a bar station dedicated to Picon punch, the herbal aperitif cocktail created by Basque immigrants to Northern Nevada and elsewhere in the Mountain West.
The renovations also include new electric, plumbing and heating systems; a new kitchen and bathrooms; new furniture; more beers on tap; Manhattans and Old-fashioneds on tap; and images, flags and other Basque memorabilia brought up from the basement to garnish the walls.
At the same time, even with the upgrades, "I still want you to feel like you're walking into the Santa Fe," Banks said.
"I still want the Basque feeling.
It's so cool; why would you change it?"
The classic Basque menu built from soup, salad, beans, french fries and choice of main course will remain essentially unchanged, Banks said. And folks will still eat at communal tables in the main dining room. But when the Santa Fe re-opens, the dining room also will feature tables for four, something the restaurant has never before offered. "You can reserve the tables," Bank said. "You don't necessarily have to sit with other people if you want a little more privacy."
Out in the lounge, a small plates menu will make its debut.
The Santa Fe will be open from 11 a.m. for lunch on Fridays and on game days at nearby Greater Nevada Field, and from 4 to 10 p.m. nightly for dinner.
Near the Reno Aces ballpark - Banks said he's counting on game days, special events and other area attractions to help the re-opened restaurant succeed. "We have so many other avenues of traffic and business to explore that were never really part of the Santa Fe back in the day."
A speakeasy-inspired bar in the basement is still at least a year away, Banks said.
The present location of the Santa Fe Hotel dates back to 1948 when it was rebuilt after a fire.
Banks purchased the Santa Fe from Phil Zubillaga, a son of the longtime owners, who was moving to the East Coast.
Zubillaga called Banks because he wanted just the right purchaser, Banks said. "He wanted someone he trusted and knew to take over and keep it going. We were always going to keep it as the Santa Fe."
Banks, a Reno builder and restaurateur, also owns Napa-Sonoma Grocery Co., Napa-Sonoma South and Hard Water House.
I have eaten in all three of these restaurants many times and they are all very good!