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REVIEW: Blue cheese reigns supreme at Archie’s

By Kyle Young
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Archie’s Giant Hamburgers & Breakfast has been delighting diners since 1995. The restaurant sits at the convergence of North Sierra Street and North Virginia Street. Just as the restaurant name suggests, they specialize in classic breakfast dishes served all day, signature burgers, sandwiches, bar foods and an every day happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to their regular offerings, they also serve a variety of coffee-based drinks and baked goods.

Breakfast and bar food nearly all the time

Google, Yelp, archiesreno.com and a chalk sign within the restaurant all display similar, but slightly different operating hours. The downstairs area of the restaurant is designed like a diner, and the upstairs bears a greater resemblance to a sports bar with attractive indoor and outdoor seating. The lower and upper areas also operate during different hours. The only take-away you really need to know is that their delicious food and drink are available almost all the time.

Dining counter at Archie's
Dining counter at Archie’s. Image: Kaitlin Young.

According to a video embedded on their website, Todd Pickett owns Archie’s. When my wife and I dined at the restaurant on a Saturday afternoon, we missed Todd.

We dined downstairs, and the atmosphere felt comfortable. Most of the downstairs patrons and employees seemed to be college students. Country music and pop music rang from the speakers. A dining counter, booths and tables were all available, and the staff invited us to sit where we’d like.

Although we didn’t explore the upstairs, that section of the restaurant seemed to be busier from the outside than did the diner section where we ate. Diners can access the upper deck from an outdoor staircase sitting at the front of the restaurant.

Upper deck at Archie's.
Upper deck at Archie’s. Image: Kaitlin Young

Parking was full up when we arrived, but we easily found parking down the way on North Sierra Street.

The building itself has a modern, attractive look with lots of windows and natural light shining in.

Their happy hour features half-price well, draft and house wine in addition to discounted food. Sundays also feature a deep discount on their signature Bloody Mary cocktails.

They offer a point-based loyalty system to UNR students and faculty members.

Fries, burgers and toothpicks that hit the spot

We started our meal with the Bleu Cheese Garlic Fries for $6.90. My whole meal really hit the spot, but these fries have lingered in my mind since dining at Archie’s. I have to hand it to my friend Kyle for his recommendation to order these decadent delights. He’s been raving about them for years.

Bleu Cheese Garlic Fries at Archie's.
Bleu Cheese Garlic Fries at Archie’s. Image: Kaitlin Young.

A fair portion of the fries, enough for two, get served piping hot in a shallow bowl. The fries themselves are large, but I wouldn’t call them steak fries. The kitchen fries them until perfectly crisp, and finishes them with what seemed like two tablespoons of fresh garlic and very nearly a whole cup of blue cheese. The fries also come with a side of ranch by default, and ketchup already sits at your table.

We enjoyed cheese with every bite of fries, and there was enough cheese left over to be eaten with my Texas Toothpicks and also enough to slather some on my burger. If you dig blue cheese as I do, this dish is a powerhouse.

My wife selected the Go Big “Bleu” Burger for $12.50, and she swapped the beef patty for a garden patty at no additional cost. She swapped her fries for a mixed green salad for a $1.95 upcharge. Her burger included melted blue cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

Go Big “Bleu” Burger with garden patty.
Go Big “Bleu” Burger with garden patty. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The salad was robust, and the spring mix was topped with sliced tomatoes, white onions, black olives and half of a hardboiled egg. My wife enquired about a balsamic vinaigrette, but the kitchen only had oil and vinegar. She opted for ranch as the salad dressing instead. She said everything in the salad tasted fresh.

Mixed green salad.
Mixed green salad. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Unlike the half-pound beef patties that regularly accompany all the burgers, her garden patty was thin and a bit lackluster. I tried a bite and it seemed to be loosely made of rice, other grains and other plant-based ingredients. The burger essentially tasted like a blue cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onions. I don’t mean that pejoratively. I actually kind of like the idea of a grilled cheese spinoff. That said, someone looking for a robust, crispy, plant-based patty may not enjoy the garden patty.

 Archie’s Giant Bacon Cheeseburger.
Archie’s Giant Bacon Cheeseburger. Image: Kaitlin Young.

For my entrée, I went with Archie’s Giant Bacon Cheeseburger for $12.50. I swapped my regular fries out for their Texas Toothpicks for a $1.95 upcharge. My burger included cheddar cheese, crispy applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. The bun was glossy, pillowy and slightly toasted. The patty was a good size and well cooked to medium. I prefer my burger a little more condiment-heavy than as it was served, but generally, I loved it. Ketchup sat at the table, so I can appreciate the DIY opportunity for the condiment. As I said previously, I also capitalized on the extra blue cheese from our fry appetizer.

Texas Toothpicks at Archie's.
Texas Toothpicks at Archie’s. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The Texas Toothpicks consisted of beer-battered slices of onion and jalapeño. I enjoyed the play between savory, salty and heat. The portion was huge. I took half my meal home. The toothpicks also arrived with a side of thick, tasty ranch.

I really enjoyed my meal. I’m excited to return for their breakfast offerings.

Archie’s Giant Hamburgers & Breakfast Details

Visit Archie’s Giant Hamburgers & Breakfast at 2195 N. Virginia Street, Reno, Nev. 89503. The downstairs diner and upstairs bar and grill operate during different hours. The downstairs is open 24 hours from Wednesday to Saturday, and it closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. The upstairs is open 8:30 a.m. to midnight on Sundays and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Call 775-322-9595 for take-out orders and to confirm operating hours. Visit Archie’s online at archiesreno.com.