Give me your hungry

Longtime bar manager “Dodge” bullshits with customers Stevie Wilson (left) and Louis Damonte while serving up a mess.

Longtime bar manager “Dodge” bullshits with customers Stevie Wilson (left) and Louis Damonte while serving up a mess.

Photo By David Robert

My story is written on my walls: “Nevada—so many sheep, so little time.” “Cowboys wipe shit off boots before entering.” “Shirts and shoes required. Bras and panties optional.” “Beware pickpockets and loose women.”

I am your old friend: comfortable and worn. You wouldn’t trade me for a million bucks. I’m there at the side of the road, solid brick walls, old plastic sign, various coats of paint. I wait for your return. Some may say my location is questionable, even undesirable, but once I’m in your periphery, you can’t look in any other direction.

I beckon you, and you park in my cozy parking lot. You do wipe the shit off your boots before entering, out of respect.

You open the door, and bright Nevada sunshine pours through the west windows, the only light in my cavern. You look left, right and straight ahead. Your truest, most loyal folks are here, too, and that’s part of my charm. Your response to me is visceral.

Familiar scents and familiar faces welcome you. The man behind the bar knows your name. And your wife’s. And your children’s. And your children’s children’s. And you know his and the next guy’s and so on.

You’ve come for lunch. You take a seat at the sturdy wooden bar. How are you? You’ve been coming here for decades, and sometimes you still read the menu. I give you so many options. Sometimes you knew what you wanted when you woke up hours earlier. You know Tuesdays and Thursdays have a different menu from Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Today is Wednesday, so it’s “The Mess” ($6) for you. The order goes in and arrives quickly as you visit with your compadres. Then you savor the plate of pinto beans smothering an enchilada with a salad on top. You eat slowly, relaxed. The spices of the dish warm you.

You’ll be back for dinner. You come every Wednesday night when for $17 you can eat a six-course meal, including soup, salad, vegetable and fresh bread/pasta. For $3 more, you can eat dessert … if you have room. You make room. Dinners change each week. This week it’s Mama Marie’s Soup, roasted garlic chicken, ravioli with tomato basil mushroom sauce, gianduja cheesecake, cranberry lime tart and eggnog trifle. Next week it’s Acqua Cotta, top sirloin steak, mushroom lasagna, eggnog cheesecake, bourbon pecan pie and chocolate cranberry trifle. Your mouth waters from one meal to the next.

From 6 to 7:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, I hum and buzz at capacity, all 85 diners relishing the hominess of a big, family-style, sit-down dinner.

I am an old-fashioned, well-earned reward for hard work. I am a relic to a long-gone time. My transformation from a tamale factory in 1928 to what I am today took work, and I have you to thank.

Pass along my secret to someone today. Enlighten those who think only of the Department of Motor Vehicles when they hear the word "Galletti." Let them know lunch is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and some days, my lot runneth over.