Treasured island

From left, longtime Coney Island Bar regulars Merle Schneider, Sonny Allen, Fran Menate and Don Heitman play pinochle and eat lunch.

From left, longtime Coney Island Bar regulars Merle Schneider, Sonny Allen, Fran Menate and Don Heitman play pinochle and eat lunch.

Photo By David Robert

Galletti’s Coney Island Bar

2644 Prater Way
Sparks, NV 89431

(775) 358-6485

I don’t hang out in bars, so I probably would have never gone to Galletti’s Coney Island Bar had my friend Debbie not recommended it. I’m sure glad she did.

Galletti’s Coney Island Bar—named after Ralph Galletti, has been here since 1945, and I think a lot of its original customers still eat here. There used to be an amusement park across the street called Coney Island, and Galletti named it after that. Galletti, an immigrant from Genoa, Italy, started his business as a tamale factory in 1927 and built the current building in 1945. After Ralph’s son John ran it, he turned it over to his son, Greg. Now, three generations deep in Gallettis, the Coney Island Bar is practically a historic landmark in Sparks and one of the oldest restaurants in Northern Nevada.

Aside from having traditional lunch favorites, Coney Island Bar has Italian dinners on Wednesday nights. The menu changes all the time, and it looks awesome. For example, the Dec. 20 Wednesday Night Dinner ($18) features Mama Marie’s soup, stuffed roasted pork loin with pancetta and roasted peppers, and freshly made gnocchi with caper cream sauce. All of that comes with a salad, vegetable and bread. For another $4, you can choose either cranberry cheesecake, eggnog trifle or apple spice pie for dessert.

The restaurant opens for lunch at 11 a.m., and I recommend getting there promptly because this place fills up quickly. We arrived at 11:15, and by the time we got our food, the dining room was full. The menu stays true to the New York deli theme, but it has a few weekly specialties thrown into the rotation. My friend Cherie and I went on a Monday. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are enchilada days; Tuesday is spaghetti and roast beef day; and Thursday is corned beef, cabbage and potatoes day. Debbie says Tuesday is the best day to go because the roast beef is cooked in the spaghetti sauce, yum! I was unable to go on Tuesday, but I’ll be back for that spaghetti and roast beef.

Cherie and I ordered “The Mess” ($7). I laughed when I saw that name because it sounds like, “Don’t go there!” The Mess is a beef enchilada covered with enchilada beans and topped with a mixed green salad. We both devoured it—all our favorite foods on one plate.

I like the way the menu rotates daily, so the regulars have something to look forward to. Also, you can always get great sandwiches, like Reubens, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, burgers and hot dogs.

We’re fortunate to have a place like this in town because these types of places hardly exist anymore. I think recipes passed down along the generations are always the best. At Galletti’s Coney Island Bar, you can enjoy traditional favorites prepared the same way they have been for more than 60 years.

Galletti’s Coney Island Bar is a must-see destination in Sparks. To stick around all these years, they must be doing something right.