Restaurants & Bars

Landrums reopens in Sparks

SteveTimko | Feb 10, 200808:27 AM

The orginal Landrums was a legendary diner in Reno and for me the archetype for all good greasy spoon restaurants. It was a small place, about eight or nine stools -- as a Landrums nut I should know this -- that operated for about 30 or 40 years on South Virginia Street at Arroyo. I'm kind of vague on this, but I believe the original building was a converted railroad car. Some guy had the idea in the 1940s to use the chassis for railroad cars as a kind of pre-fabricated building for diners and Landrums was one of them.
The signature dish was the chili-cheese omelette. It was homemade beanless chili spread on a thin crepe of egg. The cook put cheddar cheese over the chili and wrapped the egg around the egg and chili, then put some more cheese on top. The potatoes were thinly sliced and cooked in a flood of grease. And there was always a small cauldron of homemade salsa and ladel to put the salsa over the potatoes and the omelette.
While maybe not healthy, the food was delicious and cheap.
All good things come to an end, though. The original owner sold out in the 1980s to someone who had an idea to open a string Landrums. They opened one modeled loosely on the original on Rock Boulevard near Hymer Avenue in Sparks and another, even larger one, on South Virginia Street near what became Target. The original closed and is now an auto title shop. The South Virginia Street location is called the Reno Dining Club or something like that. The location in Sparks kept the Landrums name.
The Sparks location had several owners over the years and was recently reopened. I've eaten there three times. It's nice, although maybe not a destination place.
Two times I've eaten there I've had the chili cheese omelette. The first time it was cooked by an older man. He varied from the original recipe by adding tomato and onion. The other time it was cooked by a man I suspect is an owner or married to the owner. Since it's impossible to replicate the original, I think I like it better with tomatoes and onions. I wish they'd give a little bit more potatoes.
It seems like a nice diner. It's the kind of place I could see myself eating at two or three times a week. The prices are reasonable. It opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. on weekdays and later on weekends. It's open until about 6 p.m., but I think it closes earlier on weekends.

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