In my four years of living in Reno, I've only ventured up to Virginia City once. And it was on a random Tuesday night, so there were about 10 people hanging out in the town and a lot of the stores were closed. I'm not too sure why I haven't made my way over the hill more than once, especially since I've heard cool stories about people placing bets on camel and ostrich races. I'm assuming it's like a horse race ... just with people riding camels and ostriches. I'm not a huge gambler, but I could see myself throwing some money down on a human riding a wild ostrich down a street.
Although the majority (if not all) of these events are canceled in 2020, last weekend I decided to drive the windy road 35 miles southeast of Reno and show off the unique, rich and colorful streets of Virginia City to my friend Zach, who was in town for the weekend. It was a Saturday, so the town had plenty of tourists and a local art market was taking place in the lower part of the city. The second we stepped out of the car, Zach looked at me and said, "It feels like we just stepped out of a time machine and into the 1800s." Yep. That's Virginia City.
The town was founded in 1859 and looks like its been stuck there ever since. Back in the day, Virginia City was the place to be for miners. It was one of the biggest mining towns in the West, mostly known for its silver. Another fun fact for you is Virginia City is where Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) got his writing start for the local Virginia City paper. If you’re a big Mark Twain fan, there’s even a little museum dedicated to him there.
The first thing we did upon arriving was search for a place to eat. I know the popular place to try out is Red Dog Saloon, but we were craving traditional American Food instead of pizza, so we headed over to The Palace Restaurant & Saloon and put our names on the waiting list.
It was about one in the afternoon on a Saturday, so we expected to wait at least 25-30 minutes before being seated, especially with social distancing protocols. However, it only took about five minutes. The restaurant gives off a Midwest family restaurant vibe and features a good selection of sandwiches, salads, etc., plus a full bar.
Zach loves zucchini slices but had never tried them fried (he's from the South, too, where we fry everything, so it’s kinda ridiculous he hasn't had them if you ask me). So, of course, we had to order the fried zucchini slices as an appetizer. The beer-battered fried sliced zucchini had the perfect amount of crunch and came with their homemade ranch.
Friendly tip: They came fresh out of the oven and were extremely hot. Enough to burn the roof of your mouth if you eat them too quickly. So make sure you give them time to cool off. It's definitely worth the wait. I'd go as far as saying they were the best fried zucchini slices I've had in a long, long time.
They have other great options on their appetizer menu such as spinach artichoke dip and jalapeno poppers for all of you spice lovers!
As I've mentioned in my other Takeout Tuesday stories on Land Ocean and Beefy's, I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to finding something I enjoy on a menu. I love traditional burgers, salads, sandwiches and soups. And while this menu had more than a dozen burger choices, I decided to try the grilled chicken Caesar salad.
I really wish I could say Zach is less traditional than me and ordered something crazy from the burger menu, but he ordered the double cheeseburger. Yup, just two patties and three slices of cheese. However, it does come with lettuce, pickles and tomatoes on the side so if you're interested in something more than just meat and cheese you can throw that on there and get crazy!
He said it was a pretty dang good burger, though. He threw some ketchup on there and voila! Since we stink at adventuring outside of our comfort zone of food choices, I asked our table-neighbors and waiter what their favorite options were on the menu. The reuben sandwiches, bison burger and fish and chips seemed to make the top of everyone's list.
Overall, I would give this restaurant a 4.8 rating on a five-star scale. The atmosphere tops the charts, our waitress was nice and attentive despite being extremely busy and the food was great. If you're tired of hanging out in the house and looking for a safe, clean place to get away with the family, make a trip out to Virginia City and have a meal at Palace Saloon & Restaurant!