The place: Pinocchio's Bar & Grill in Reno recently moved from Moana Lane to South Virginia Street. The restaurant still has a location in Sparks. At first, I was worried the place wouldn't feel as cozy or as comfortable as its Moana Lane strip mall location but Pinocchio's did a great job with the move. The new place has charm, more seating and plenty of parking.
The look: Eclectic decor with pictures, bikes, plates, skis and anything else you can imagine hanging from the ceilings and walls. Lots of booths and tables, including some large booths tucked away in corners for big groups. The new Reno location also has a roomy bar with large screen TVs. The place looks so good, you'd think it was built for Pinocchio's.
The meal: I'm a lady who, occasionally, lunches and more often than not my foursome goes to Pinocchio's. Most of the time, a few of us get salads, but on this trip, with a $20 budget in mind, two of us opt for sandwiches. Pinocchio's has 17 sandwiches and burgers less than $10. You can also get soup and salad or soup and half a sandwich for under $10.
I try the pepper crusted chicken on a baguette and one of my lunch pals tries the navajo chicken pita. Both come with fries. Both sandwiches have great flavor and are filling. We don't miss our regular salad -- the Southern fried chicken salad -- as much as we thought we would.
The service is friendly, and soda and ice tea refills are prompt. An enjoyable and relaxed lunch makes it easier for us to gossip, so we are thankful Pinocchio's has provided the perfect venue, again.
Kudos: Celebrating a birthday at Pinocchio's comes with a serenade played over stereo speakers, a candelabra and a big piece of mud pie. If the food wasn't good, this wouldn't be worth mentioning but you can also feel philanthropic eating here, which legally negates all calories that come from dessert. This family owned restaurant gives back to the community by catering nonprofit events below cost. The Pinocchio family also started Moms on the Run, a fundraiser that supports local women with cancer.
Quibbles: The people I dined with wanted a few more salad options under $10. Both the spinach salad and the big house salad are under $10 but for ladies who lunch, a few more options, even if they are small or half portions, make us feel diet-compliant.
Alternatives: Most of the dinner options are over $10, but they are large enough to split. Or do what I say I'm always going to do -- forget lunch or dinner and just have dessert.
I always leave that place too full and promise myself one of these days, I'm going in just for the bread pudding.
Return trip? Yes. This place has charm, a nice staff and good food. It's not fine dining but it's a locals' place where you will see friendly faces, enjoy your meal and the bill.