The Gold 'n' Silver Inn has been a fixture in Reno for decades. Jeff Paine joined it as one of three owners and took full ownership on Jan. 1, 1999.
When I first started coming here, this place was about half the size it is now. Do a lot of people tell you things like that?
Oh, yes. I actually have some old pictures and old postcards showing the inside and outside of the building. You can see how different everything looked now versus what it was pre-1976, when it was expanded to the size that it is now.
There’s certain groups that really gravitate to this place. College students, police officers—
Not so much anymore. Retired police officers, we still get a lot of retired police officers. But as far as uniformed police officers, they do not come in anywhere near what they used to. … There are so many other places they can go now. Just in the last 10 years the number of restaurants in Reno has, realistically, doubled. Everybody fancies themselves a foodie and thinks they’re going to get into the restaurant business and make a million bucks. They last about a year and then they’re gone. So they kind of come and go, but there’s a lot more of them …
I notice there’s Homeland Security vehicles here fairly often.
There’s one Homeland Security officer who comes in fairly regular, so I think you’re seeing the same vehicle pretty much every time.
There’s a lot of groups of older folks, breakfast groups, lunch groups. How much is that part of your customer base?
It’s really hard to say. I mean, we have a very large number of regular customers. They aren’t necessarily all seniors. We have a lot of regular customers of all demographics who come in. When you say regular customers, that could be people that come in every day. That could be people that come in every week, people that come in a couple of times a week. It could be families that come in a couple weekends a month, whatever. I mean, there’s a lot of degrees of quote-unquote regular customers. But I would say regulars make up probably a good 70 percent of our typical customer thing. … The other part, the tourist part, we still get a lot of people that come in and say, “This is my first time to Reno. Saw you on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and so we made it a point that we were going to visit you when we came to Reno.” And then those people that are just haphazard, once every so often come in.
Did the television show give you a bump?
Oh, it was overnight. I mean, from when the show first aired, which was April 26, 2010, on April 27 … I mean, I’ll never forget the date because it really was a positive impact for our business. It was an overnight success. And it came at a time—2010—where we were really at the bottom of the recession and it was a very difficult period. Our staffing was cut way back and it was a very, very difficult time for us. For our employees, we cut a lot of hours. … It was a 20 percent overnight increase in business. That, May of 2010, was our biggest food sales month on record in our history. And we were getting it from all—all the locals, all the tourists. … There was one of the annual bowling tournaments going on at the time. And we got an incredible number of bowlers from out of town coming in immediately after the show aired. All throughout the two or three months the tournament lasted—May, June, July—we had scores of people coming in every day. … It got us back to pre-recession food sale levels and really put us on much firmer ground.
Now, Sunday mornings, I know that a lot of people from First Congregational come down the hill after the service.
We get a lot of church people. We have a very large group from St. Albert’s that comes down. Sunday day shift is our biggest—of our 21 shifts each week, day, swing, grave, seven days a week—Sunday day shift is far and away our biggest eight hour period of the week, without a doubt.