For six-and-a-half years, Beefy’s has sat on a corner of South Virginia Street in Midtown. If you’re newer to Reno, you likely wouldn’t know the small structure, that is more than 70 years old, was a burger joint unless someone told you.
If you’re a long-time Reno resident, you likely remember the 400 square-foot, green and white building as Landrum’s Hamburger System 1, originally launched by Eunice Landrum in 1947. That’s what put the dainty diner on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
In recent years it has changed hands to serve up “conscious cuisine” and title loans, but returned to its roots in 2014 when Beefy’s opened and began grilling up burgers, hot dogs and other hearty goodies to feed families, workers on lunch and couples looking for something more than your standard fare.
The menu can be overwhelming. It’s not that there are too many items on it—although there are a lot of options and variations—but everything sounds good. From Cajun-fried pickle spears to chicken wings to a chili cheese omelet, diners can choose from just about anything.
On my first dine-in experience at Beefy’s, I had the same conundrum as most. I wanted to try eight different things, so my lunch companion and I ordered up four items to share: deep fried Cajun pickle spears, the Angel Dog, poutine, and the Nevadan. With this, there was the option to at least make a dent in the menu.
The Angel Dog is a hot dog wrapped like a mummy in bacon and deep fried. The way the dog is wrapped deserves some attention. The bacon is tightly coiled around the hot dog, covering almost every inch of it before it’s stuffed into a bun.
The poutine is an American-style version of the Canadian classic. If you’ve had poutine across the border, don’t expect that same rendition here. It is, however, equally as delicious, and some may even prefer the cubed cheese and bacon over the cheese curds. The gravy, however, does Canada justice.
The Cajun pickle spears are akin to the fried pickles you’ve had most places, with an added heat from the Cajun seasoning, kicking the dish up a notch. The pickles are warm but still crisp and flavorful.
Lastly, the Nevadan isn’t one of the more inventive items on the menu—we’ll get into that in a minute—but it’s a high-quality burger that rivals the best ones in town. It has that home-made, fresh taste that not all restaurant burgers possess. The edges of the patty are slightly crispy and the cheese is melted perfectly over the top.
If you’re coming here for novelty, many will recommend the Awesome Awesome, a playful jab at the famous Awful Awful that once existed at the now-closed Nugget Diner downtown. The Awesome Awesome is loaded with two patties, four slices of cheese, tomato, Thousand Island dressing and grilled onions.
Other specialty burgers include the Onion Burger piled high with three types of onions, The Moo, The Cluck and The Oink, which barely resembles a burger at all but a plateful of meat, cheese, barbecue sauce and onion rings, and The Surf ‘N Turf topped with grilled shrimp—and that’s only scratching the surface.
Because Beefy’s is such a small space with limited seating, it didn’t make sense to attempt indoor dining after COVID-19 restrictions hit. So instead, the owners pivoted, focusing instead on an outdoor seating area, donning heaters for now and covered sides until the weather warms. They have plans to open it up and bring in televisions, as well, creating an outdoor environment to last long after the pandemic.
To order, make your way around back, place an order at the register and take a seat in the covered tent or ask staff to bring the goods out to your car when it’s ready.
In person: 1300 S. Virginia St., Reno, Nev. 89511
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.