Twisted Chimney to re-open as a restaurant

Twisted Chimney is at 1305 N. Virginia St. Call 322-6700.
After two years standing vacant at the corner of 12th and Virginia streets, the Twisted Chimney is about to re-open as a restaurant and entertainment spot.

New owner Jeff Gruhler plans to open Twisted Chimney, right across from the University of Nevada, Reno campus, within the week. He said he wanted to open the place last month, but inspection delays by the city threw a wrench into those plans.

Since beginning renovations on the former coffee shop six months ago, he has added a 12,000-gallon grease interceptor and four pizza ovens. Gruhler, who owned Wings & Things on Mill Street for 14 years before selling it last year, said gourmet pizzas and chicken wings will be some of the new restaurant’s specialties. He even wants to label the chicken wing sauce—a recipe from Wings & Things that he owns the rights to—under the Twisted Chimney name and sell it in chimney-shaped bottles.

He also plans to expand the menu to include salads and sub sandwiches, as well as ice cream and fruit smoothies as the weather gets warmer. Coffee will also be served at the Twisted Chimney. Gruhler said he’s working with a local roaster and promises that the coffee they will serve will be some of the freshest in the city.

Although the mixture of college students, coffee and occasional live music should have been a winning combination for the Twisted Chimney the first time round, the place closed within a year of its opening in the summer of 1998.

Gruehler hopes that under his ownership, the place will be more successful. He envisions the place as more than a college hangout. He wants it to be a “house of culture,” a place for families or businesspeople to go for a meal or to relax and listen to live music or performances.

“It’s a small place but it’s going to be a fun spot,” he said.

Since putting up a “Musicians Wanted” sign outside the building a few weeks ago, the phone has been ringing off the hook, he said. Not only is he providing a space for musicians to play, he’s also installing a full PA system so that bands won’t have to carry their own. He has even purchased a $1,200 Yamaha piano for musicians to use. He said he’s accepting of many forms of music—except for hip-hop and rap.

In keeping with the family-friendly atmosphere, it will be a non-smoking venue, and no alcohol will be served.

He said he wants to work with the university’s art, music and theater departments to use the venue to showcase the student and faculty talent. He hopes to eventually display student art as a way to promote and help sell student works.

Gruhler said he’s talked to residents who live in the homes surrounding the Twisted Chimney and said most of them are welcome to what he wants to do with the spot. He said he wants to gets the message out that Reno is more than just a gambling center, but a place for culture. He also wants to help promote the university and what it has to offer educationally and culturally.

"If the community gets behind me, I’ll get behind it," he said.