Backing up the block

Colin Dougherty takes out his inner aggression on a defenseless Hawaiian pizza at Blue Moon.

Colin Dougherty takes out his inner aggression on a defenseless Hawaiian pizza at Blue Moon.

Photo By David Robert

Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza

6135 Lakeside Dr.
Reno, NV 89511
Ste. 101

(775) 825-1120

Do you ever have those moments, even though you’ve lived in Reno for five, 10, 20 years, when you’re driving around town and suddenly see a place you’ve never seen before and momentarily lose all sense of where you are? You know, a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” feeling? I know California Avenue well. In the past several years, the stretch between Plumas Street and Arlington Avenue has had a makeover as the hippest block in town. Deux Gros Nez and the Cheese Board have long claimed residence, but then the purple-painted Yoga Shack came along, and HighSocieTea, and you’ve got Metro Salon and Satellite bar holding down one end of the street while the Chocolate Bar anchors the other end.

A couple weeks ago, I turned onto California on my roundabout way to the movies—it was dark out; I don’t get nearly as confused in daylight—when on my left, I saw Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza. I’d gone to the Lakeside Drive location many times, but the sudden sight of a friend where I didn’t expect one threw me off.

“Where are we?” I asked my sister.

“What?” she understandably replied.

“Never mind,” I said, feeling reassured by the sight of My Favorite Muffin farther down on the left.

A couple days later, feeling famished as I left a different movie, I said to my friend Ray, “Do you want to eat at Blue Moon? I think I saw one around here the other night.”

As I drove east on California, I saw it the moment I passed it and had to loop back around. It’s right next to Satellite, and there was plenty of parking on the west side of the building.

It was late afternoon, and the sun poured through the giant windows that line two sides of the restaurant. The interior was inviting: soothing but also stimulating, thanks to metallic blue paint, metal tables and chairs and funky but attractive light fixtures. The place has a lengthy, curving counter, behind which you can view the preparation of your food. The music, when we walked in, bordered on hardcore and was initially jarring—in my mind, eating and raucous music don’t mix—but the volume was low enough that I soon blocked it out.

Ray and I shared two small pizzas. The stuffed spinach ($13.43) was a deep-dish filled all the way to the edges with spinach, cheese and garlic, and it was topped with more cheese and tomato sauce. It was rich and hearty, and I didn’t dare leave behind any crust. The Li’l Stevie ($12.25) was very untraditional, containing chevre cheese, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic with teriyaki as the defining sauce. The first bite was strange, especially after the more classic flavor of the stuffed spinach, but it quickly grew on me. The mix of sweet, salty and little bit of sour quickly addicted me.

With the other food establishments already on the block, a gourmet pizza place, especially one as delicious and hip as Blue Moon, is a nice addition. My guess: A lot of people will dine there after a day at Metro or the movies before heading on to the Chocolate Bar for desserts and drinks, then round out the night with music and more drinks at Satellite.

It’s all about location, and Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza couldn’t have picked a better one.