Pizza party

Looking for an interesting contrast of ingredients and flavors? You might try the Downieville at Eclipse.

Looking for an interesting contrast of ingredients and flavors? You might try the Downieville at Eclipse.

Photo By David Robert

Eclipse Pizza Co.

3950 Mayberry Dr.
Reno, NV 89519

(775) 747-4343

I was hanging out with my roommate Julie and her co-workers, all bartenders and waiters from a hip local establishment that will, for the sake of protecting the its dignity, remain anonymous. These wild young people are a staggeringly hard-partying posse, and we descended upon Eclipse, an unsuspecting gourmet pizzeria, like a fleet of drunken flying saucers. It was an unruly group of well over a dozen—and it made for the wildest pizza party I’ve attended since the post-soccer-game-victory celebrations of my childhood.

There was quite a bit of drunken cheer and joyful boasting and one inebriated young lady did a fair impression of somebody’s orgasmic wails. Her reasons for doing this are unknown to me, though it could well have been excitement about the delicious food.

Though they tolerated us gracefully, this sort of raucous, drunken revelry doesn’t seem typical to Eclipse. It has a refined, gourmet atmosphere that veers toward yuppie-dom but is casual enough not to seem pretentious. It’s decorated with a bicycling and long-distant running theme. The mission statement on the back of the menu makes it clear that this is a restaurant for hungry athletes to reward themselves after a day of “rigorous activities.” The food is indeed filling and refreshing, though the number of pictures of professional bicyclists prompted Paul to wonder, “Is this place owned by Spandex?”

It’s a two-story restaurant. The kitchen, order counter and a small dining area are downstairs. There’s another dining area upstairs. Our group was so large that we managed to take over the entire upstairs—a good thing since it meant we were quarantined from the more polite patrons. We had to go downstairs to order and pay, but they brought the food up to us.

I had an individual-sized barbecue chicken pizza ($7) with chicken, smoked Gouda, cilantro, cheddar, mozzarella and both barbeque sauce and tomato sauce. It’s one of the better such pizzas that I’ve had, with a nice balance of flavors and textures, though the crust was a little bland.

Valerie fared even better with an individual-sized Kauiian pizza ($7), with pineapple, ham, macadamia nuts, pesto and mozzarella. It normally comes with sun-dried tomatoes, but she ordered it without them—too bad because sun-dried tomatoes would have made this pizza nearly perfect. (The secret to good pizza is an intriguing balance of contrasting flavors and textures.) I don’t usually like macadamia nuts because they taste like dirt, but in the context of this pizza, they were quite good.

The non-pizza fare that I sampled was also quite impressive. Jessica had the Eclipse house greens ($4). It’s a tasty salad that included gorgonzola, pine nuts and a truly remarkable balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Jessica described it as tasting like “fireworks from a different country.” Alden had the mighty meaty calzone ($7) with regular pizza toppings including pepperoni, sausage and ham. Each meat had a distinctly spiced wallop of flavor.

Eclipse is a nice place to go for good food and a great place for good times—even if you’re running with an especially obnoxious group. When Paul went to order a couple more pitchers of beer, the man at the counter gave him a skeptical look, said “I don’t know …” but after some brief reassurance, sold him the beer anyway.