‘'We’re here for food’

Bartender Briana Sullivan presents a ginormous bacon cheeseburger at Timberline Lounge.

Bartender Briana Sullivan presents a ginormous bacon cheeseburger at Timberline Lounge.

Photo By David Robert

Timberline Lounge

18150 Wedge Parkway Dr.
Reno, NV 89511

(775) 850-3999

Four o’clock in the afternoon is a funny time to time to stroll into a restaurant because you’re never sure whether you’re going to be handed the lunch or the dinner menu. Because I am cheap and poor, I usually hope for the lunch menu. When my brother, Cameron, and I arrived at the Timberline Lounge, the woman behind the bar said, “Hi, how can I help you?”

Now this might seem like a straightforward question, but I wasn’t sure whether I should say, “We’re here for lunch,” (and be disappointed because we were too late) or, “We’re here for dinner,” (and commit myself to higher prices). Then I figured I was over-thinking the whole thing and just stammered out, “We’re here for food.”

This was an important distinction because at the odd, in-between time we were there, the only other customers were all sitting at the luxurious bar. Though rather far down the hill from Mount Rose and Lake Tahoe and nowhere near the actual timberline, Timberline Lounge has a nice, formal-yet-relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of an old-school ski lodge. I almost felt as though I was in a rather remote log cabin rather than a suburban strip mall. It’s spacious, low-lit and decorated with wood and stone. Our waitress was friendly but kept things short and left us mostly to ourselves. The relatively aloof service, along with the cozy atmosphere, makes for a good spot for a private chat.

Timberline Lounge is owned by the local sports-bar chain Bully’s, which has a location next door, but the two places are quite different. (There were big screens tuned to ESPN behind the bar in Timberline, but the sound was off.)

The food is mostly of the traditional, classy joint Italian variety. We started out with an order of zucchini sticks ($6), served with ranch dressing and marinara sauce and given a gourmet presentation that belied the simplistic nature of the food. They were good; the zucchini taste had not been crisped away, and they whetted the appetite.

I had the chicken fettuccini ($11): chicken and mushrooms in a garlic and herb Alfredo sauce over fettuccini. It had a smooth, creamy flavor but wanted for a side of garlic bread or something, of which there was none. It was a good dish, though it probably won’t make it on to the list of my top 10 meals of 2006.

My brother, a hearty, strapping young lad, was only able to make his way through half of the bacon cheeseburger ($8) and saved the rest for lunch the next day. It was a surprisingly effective burger. (I often tend to think that divier spots make better burgers, but this isn’t always the case.) It had onions and tomato, a couple different cheeses, bacon strips, a baked onion bun and a “special sauce” that tasted like mayo, mustard and Worcestershire. It came with a side of noodle salad, and my brother noted that it was really the kind of burger that you’d rather have a noodle salad with than fries.

I took a look at the dinner menu, and it also looked promising. Timberline Lounge seems like a good place to stop on your way back to Reno from Incline Village or Mount Rose, either for drinks, lunch, dinner or something in between.