Final Days for an Old Reno Favorite
During all the big changes that have happened in Reno over the past 50-plus years, there was always an A&W on Kietzke Lane. That finally ends this weekend as Reno's A&W restaurant closes.
During all the big changes that have happened in Reno over the past 50-plus years, there was always an A&W on Kietzke Lane. That finally ends this weekend as Reno's A&W closes.
Mike Baker will be opening his restaurant for just five more days. The A&W he owns with his wife Rayleen closes on Sunday. The restaurant had that vintage look from the day it opened…a look by design. As Rayleen put it, "Old and young love...LOVE the nostalgia."
Yes the place looks dated…but that's good! It triggers good memories, like dropping a coin in the jukebox while having a root beer float. They are memories that came back every time you drove by Plumb and Kietzke. As Mike told me, "You know you've got so many restaurant designs today that are all modern, they're all the same. There's no feeling in them anymore, they're sterile.”
The very first A&W opened 99 years ago. In that time, very little of the menu has changed: Root beer in a cold mug and chili fries. Milk shakes, Coney Dogs and cheese curds. But more than that is the attachment to days gone by.
With its nostalgic pictures and tableside jukeboxes, it became a natural gathering place for Hot August Nights. Classic car owners chose it on their own. As Rayleen told me, "They've been the ones to take us in, from the beginning." Mike adds, "You know everybody that has a classic car knows that wherever they live or wherever they travel, there's probably a cruise at an A and W."
Their A&W has to vacate, because a car dealership is building there. They've tried to relocate, without success. Rayleen says, "Land prices skyrocketed. We've been looking for quite some time and we aren't able to find anything in our budget.”
Lots of folks don't know its closing. They find out when they ask, why the weeping emoji on the cruise poster? Its tough news for fans and frequent customers like Tom Lincoln, who told us, “Well it’s Hot August Nights. And there's nothing better than a root beer float at Hot August Nights.”
So just a few more days to see the old muscle cars parked outside. Sunday night will be their last as another vintage mainstay leaves us, with the other one staying open in Sparks.