Pump you up!

Like Mozart for your mouth: an iced latte, quiche Lorraine and coffee gelato from Franz’s Backstube.

Like Mozart for your mouth: an iced latte, quiche Lorraine and coffee gelato from Franz’s Backstube.

Photo By lauren randolph

Franz’s Backstube is open Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Franz’s Backstube

3882 Mayberry Landing
Reno, NV 89519

(775) 624-2921

On an afternoon just before the clouds rolled in, I took my parents out for a quick lunch at Franz’s Backstube. Franz’s is an Austrian bakery and café that’s been around for seven years and for good reason. It offers a variety of sweet and savory items at decent prices in a great atmosphere.

The café is small and very cozy, with a lovely glass case displaying an assortment of freshly made goodies, such as sticky and yummy-looking poppy seed rolls and tarts stacked high with sugar-glazed fruit. The two women behind the counter were both wonderfully friendly and helpful while we stood at the register deciding what to have. Behind me was an “ice cream” stand—technically gelato—which made my mouth water (from large, $9.75, to cone $1.95). I had big plans for that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The menu at Franz’s is not large, but there is enough variety for most groups. My dad jumped at the chance to have Austrian goulash (hearty beef stew, cup $4.50, bowl $5.75), and he was glad he did. He said it was as good as the real deal he’d had in Europe numerous times. In fact, on their last trip to visit me while I was living there, I believe he ate goulash almost exclusively as he made his way across the continent. What can I say? The man knows goulash.

My husband and I split a tuna salad sandwich on a croissant ($4.95, small $3.50) and a vegetarian sandwich. There are four sandwiches ($4.50, small $2.75) to choose from, all of which come on either a baguette or rye bread: turkey and tomato, Black Forest ham, salami and Swiss, and vegetarian. Although both of ours were good, I think the tuna won because of that delicious croissant. All breads and rolls were made fresh that morning, and we could taste it. My dad had a chicken salad with raspberries sandwich ($4.95), also on a croissant, and was most pleased, although he couldn’t get over the combination.

“How original,” he said. “Now who thought of that?”

I don’t think he believed me when I said it was a rather common recipe, and so I dropped it and let him enjoy himself. We added freshly made mini quiches ($3.95 or $6.50 with salad) to our bounty, as well—spinach mushroom and asparagus—and they disappeared quickly, although they were perhaps a tad too salty.

Our service was terrific, and the view outside quieting. There is a water fountain that drowns out the noise of McCarran without detracting from the mountain views farther away. It’s a peaceful corner if you’re looking for a small lunch on a sunny day.

Of course we wouldn’t go to a Backstube without eating something sweet, although I’ll admit that by that time I was much too full for anything spectacular, sadly. My husband fetched a giant bowl of chocolate gelato, and we all dug in, complaining of our rounding bellies but finishing it all the same. It was addictive. We also sipped from his blended ice mocha ($3.50), which was delightful. It wasn’t overly sweet like so much that is served these days. It reminded me of the dark chocolates and coffees in Germany; they’re delicious without rotting your teeth.

If you’re like me and hard times are crimping your travel ambitions, go to Franz’s for a little fresh air and Old World dining charm.