Dinner With a Side of History
Explore Carson City’s vibrant past while eating (and drinking) your heart out!
BY ENGRID BARNETT
When John C. Frémont and crew stumbled into western Nevada in 1844, they found an expansive valley abutting the resplendent Sierra Nevada mountains. More importantly, they located a thirst-quenching river. Frémont declared the serpentine feature the Carson, honoring his buckskin-clad guide, Christopher “Kit” Carson.
By 1851, the much-needed stopover boasted a trading post frequented by California-bound pioneers. And 20 years after Frémont’s foray, Carson City became the Silver State’s booming capital. Dizzyingly rich silver deposits in the mountains east of the city, known collectively as The Comstock Lode, clinched the political deal.
Today, Carson City embodies geographical contrasts—sagebrush desert, tree-shrouded riverscapes, pastoral valleys, and rugged mountains. As the state capital, it also contains a unique combination of historical sites and foodie hotspots. Multitasking is a must to make the most of any visit.
Combine a tour of the city’s historic buildings with some of its hippest restaurants and watering holes. These establishments often boast up to a century (or more) of civic pride, but their menus keep it fresh, innovative,
THE FOX BREWERY & PUB (1862)
An October 1862 ad in the “Silver Age” newspaper proclaimed the three-story St. Charles Hotel “the pleasantest resort in Carson…where everything kept by the bar is the best quality.” The Fox Brewery & Pub continues this tradition today, offering 17 craft beers, refreshing cocktails, and an exuberant menu.
Belly up to the bar (or booth) for beer-braised brisket, the world-famous pub dip, or the humbly titled mac & cheese—pasta loaded with three types of cheese and bacon crumbles in a crispy parmesan crust. Finish the meal off with a baked-to-order fruit cobbler crowned with walnut crumbles, maple, and decadent vanilla ice cream.
EVE’S EATERY (1925)
Eve’s Eatery is a modern American restaurant set inside a two-story building circa 1925. The site has seen several incarnations over the decades including the Kit Carson Club and the Horseshoe Club, a veritable city fixture from the 1970s through the early 2000s. Today’s restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and they’re anything but old-fashioned.
For breakfast, devour tres leches pancakes piled high with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwis, dulce de leche, and powdered sugar. Chase it with a Mexican hot chocolate—s’mores in a cup with a dash of cinnamon, or go for a mimosa with a tropical twist: the Pineapple Strawberry Express. And don’t forget about Eve’s delectable handmade pasta. Whether you tuck into cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), agnolotti (braised short rib ravioli), or The Knockout (chicken fettuccine served in a homemade bread bowl), you’ll roll out happy.
SASSAFRAS ECLECTIC FOOD JOINT (1928)
The Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint should rank near the top of any Carson City culinary tour. Menu highlights include the Superfraggacheesalicious Loaf, a baked-to-order sourdough round stuffed with garlic and a tangy cheese medley. Evilled Eggs (stuffed with shrimp, roasted peppers, and smoked paprika) elevate the humble hardboiled egg. Or opt for spicy, gooey bliss with an order of baked cheese curds and chorizo.
You’ll also find a wide selection of sandwiches, pizzas, and beverages that are anything but ordinary. The palate-pleasing fun, packed into a single-family residence built in 1928, radiates the energy you’d expect from the Roaring ‘20s with plenty of contemporary touches.
GREAT BASIN BREWING COMPANY (1936)
The Great Basin Brewing Company building (circa 1936) exudes the post-Prohibition charm you’d expect from a brewery in the quaint historic downtown. Like its counterparts in Reno and Sparks, Great Basin’s capital location features a crave-worthy mixture of classic eats and local brews. It also contains a 15-barrel brewing system.
Nobody does beer and comfort food quite like Great Basin. Personal faves? Black Gold dry Irish stout with an order of finger-licking-good sticky fries (think fresh-cut sweet potatoes fried to perfection and smothered in BBQ sauce, white cheddar, bacon crumbles, and scallions). Of course, there’s a whole lotta menu to explore, so come ready to eat, drink, and be merry.