Vegan in Reno

Ever since bf & I moved out here we’ve been talking about jaunting off to Reno for a weekend.  Reno was described to me as an older, mini-sized Vegas.  The drive from here to Reno is about five hours shorter than to Vegas.  And everything is cheaper than Vegas too.

As any good travelling vegan does, I searched for “Reno Vegan” before we went, looking for any sign of food that I would be able to eat.  Things didn’t look so good, and the verdict is that Reno is MUCH less vegan-friendly than Vegas.  It’s to be expected though.  I did find stuff to eat and come back alive, albeit a little bit poorer.

We left at 8AM on Saturday and got to Reno just before noon.  Our hotel check-in wasn’t until 3, so we started off with some video poker and walked around a bit.  We got a pretty good deal at Silver Legacy hotel, which is a good location because it’s connected to both Eldorado and Circus Circus.  No need to go outside, which was nice because it was really cold.  When we started to get hungry we headed to The Brew Brothers in Eldorado.  I figured I could at least get the old standby of fries and a salad, as well as a beer.

We started with beers – I the Wild Card Wheat and bf the Pale Ale.

The beers were tasty, very fresh and high quality.

There was the ubiquitous veggie pizza on the menu, so I asked about the crust and found out that it’s vegan.  Cheeseless pizza for me.

It was a good pizza.  Nothing super outstanding, but it filled me up for quite a while.

We spent the afternoon napping, watching sports, walking around and…playing more video poker.  We wanted to play black jack, but we couldn’t find a table with a low minimum and decent payout.

For dinner we headed to the buffet at Eldorado.  You can’t go to a casino without eating at the buffet.  At least that’s my rule.  There wasn’t nearly as much for me to choose from as the times we buffeted in Vegas.  (Yes, I just used buffet as a verb.)  But I found some good enough food.

First plate:  salad with spinach, lettuce, mushrooms, chickpeas and vinaigrette, pasta salad, quinoa tabouleh and a roll.  The salad bar itself was pretty pathetic – I was hoping for at least broccoli or carrots or something.  I was impressed with the quinoa tabouleh though.  It wasn’t the best tabouleh or quinoa I’ve ever had, but the fact that they had quinoa at all was great.

Second plate:  green beans and carrots, steamed white rice, squash, beets, and a cold antipasti mixture that I did NOT eat because what I thought was red onion or something turned out to be meat.  I hated to waste it, but I was also upset with the fact that the buffet seemed to put meat in EVERYTHING!

(There was a third plate with a bit more pasta salad and chickpeas.  Gotta get my money’s worth!)

Dessert:  fruit.  There was a case of ice cream, some of which may have been sorbet, but there was a line and I didn’t feel like asking.

We went to bed relatively early (we’re getting old) and checked out early the next day to go see The Peppermill and Atlantis, which are not within walking distance from downtown.  I was hungry, and after looking at multiple menus for anything I could eat other than an eight dollar fruit cup, I ate the granola bar and banana I had brought just incase.  I didn’t want to eat them – I wanted to eat out, cause that’s a fun part of vacation for me.  But I was getting cranky and needed food in my belly.

On the way out of town we passed by The Black Bear Diner and decided to stop so that bf could get a good breakfast.  I figured I could at least get coffee and OJ.  After perusing the menu and noting that they welcome special requests, I decided to try and order.  The waitress confirmed that their country potatoes could be made with just oil (no butter), so I ordered potatoes and a fruit cup.

The potatoes were good, made with fresh peppers and onions, and while the fruit wasn’t perfectly ripe, it was definitely good enough.  I left full and much more satisfied than before.  I thought The Black Bear Diner was really cute, the kind of place you’d find in Tennessee, which made me all nostalgic.  There was even a person going around the restaurant in a full on black bear outfit, sneaking up on people and being nice to kids.  Should’ve taken a picture.

So, if you’re looking for glitz and food options, go to Vegas.  If you’re looking for a quick, cheaper getaway, go to Reno.  Although, I will say that the drive back home took about three hours longer than the drive there.  It snowed the night we stayed, and the only road back was covered in snow and ice.  We were forced to buy chains for my tires, which is something I had never dealt with before.  People went nuts.  People seriously don’t know how to deal with snow and having to put on chains.  Not that I did either, but I like to believe that I act sane under stress.

I wanted to take pictures of the snow covered mountains, which were actually beautiful, but I felt it more important to let bf concentrate on driving.  Here’s one I snagged when we stopped for a bathroom break.

The good news is that we’re planning another trip to Vegas.  I will have Ronald’s Donuts again.  Oh yes, I will.


  1. VeggieGirl said


  2. Carrie said

    I’m glad you at least found a few things to eat! I really really want to go to Vegas..someday!

  3. at least you survived! i kinda hate when i go out and the only thing i can eat is some generic whatever non-memorable thing that i just have to eat to keep me alive (and not cranky). still, food is food. looks like you had a good beer or two 🙂 and hell yes on acting sane under pressure. people here freak out when it snows and drive all crazy…but that’s mostly because it only REALLY snows (like…hard) once every 2 years and the city has no budget for plowing. so when it decides to snow, everything gets messed up for days on end. still. people don’t have to act nutso.

    glad you had a decently fun trip!

  4. Glad you found a few eats in Reno…I’ve found that vegan options are almost everywhere. Can’t believe they had quinoa!!!

  5. Sounds like a fun trip!! I love how you used buffeting as a verb, hehe.

  6. How fun!! Too bad the food situation wasn’t the greatest. I can’t believe they had quinoa at El Dorado, and I LOVE that Black Bear Diner mug!

  7. mihl said

    Those food choices don’t sound too bad. Both the pizza and the potatoes sound nice. And I didn’t know that buffet and casino were so tightly connected 🙂

  8. Janeen said

    Glad you enjoyed your trip! I will have to take a megadose of benadryl and indulge in Ronalds with you.

  9. chowvegan said

    I’ve been to Reno way back when, it seemed like everything had meat it then. I guess it really hasn’t changed much. At least the pizza looked good. 🙂

  10. Cake said

    Wow. You went to all the wrong places. How about Pneumatic Diner, Dandelion Cafe, Palais de Jade, and a new hot dog place with many vegan options? There is also plenty of Indian, sushi, and Thai. Hint: Stay Away from Casinos.

    • veganhomemade said

      See, the thing is that my boyfriend isn’t vegan, so I try to search out places where we’ll both be happy. Also, I searched the internet for vegan options before going and apart from the Pneumatic Diner (which had mixed reviews) and a bakery that reportedly had vegan baked goods, I couldn’t find anything! But I’m very welcome to suggestions, and would love to try this hot dog place.

      • Larisa said

        Insider tip – most of the bad reviews for the Pneumatic Diner come from the fact that you usually have to wait a half hour for your food. Don’t go there if you are already starving! Aside from that the food is AMAZING.

    • Larisa said

      I’m frequently in Reno — where is this hot dog place?!

      • Suzanne said

        It’s Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs on the corner of Sierra and California, just south of downtown. It is a little vegan oasis in an (admittedly) carnivorous desert.

  11. Melisser said

    Quinoa in Reno?! Really??
    Also, RONAAAAALD’S!!!!

  12. […] first trip to Reno is documented here, and during our second trip I was on a […]

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