Tucked onto the second floor of European Fitness Center on South Virginia Street, Hidden Bistro clearly gets its name from its location. To get there, you’ll have to park at 2999 S. Virginia St., and take the elevator inside of the gym up to the second floor. There, to your left, is a casual café with bar seating and small tables.
Like most gym cafés, it has a selection of protein smoothies, but the rest of the menu caters to the average lunch crowd and not just the patrons lifting weights downstairs. Anyone can order a meal at Hidden Bistro (which just opened in January)—no gym membership required.
The menu isn’t always the same, but as favorite food items leave, new ones come. At first glance, it seems like an easy line-up of salads and sandwiches, but closer inspection shows the type of fare that could be deemed pretentious if the space wasn’t so casual, following a local trend of truly delicious and well-though-out meals without the fuss and fanfare.
To order, step in and grab a seat, or place an order through GrubHub for pick-up or delivery (the former forgoes those hefty meal delivery fees). You can also call ahead, but with a small staff, phone calls aren’t always picked up.
Chef Oscar, the owner and man behind the menu, is there daily whipping up meals. Try the jerk chicken sandwich—fried chicken breast tossed in spices and finished with pickled onion and cucumber before it’s placed atop a bed of coleslaw on a brioche bun.
Another standout is the grilled chicken sandy, a flame-grilled chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, Swiss cheese and black truffle mayonnaise on a brioche bun.
2999 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502, Inside European Fitness Center
Mon – Fri: 10:30am – 8:30pm
Saturday: 10:30am – 6:30pm
Sunday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
For millennials who can’t get enough avocado toast, Chef Oscar’s rendition is made special by its starter—the brioche bread that the rest of the sandwich is built on—loaded with avocado, two eggs made your way, and a black sesame mix.
The careful blending of ingredients lends itself to truly spectacular meals with complex flavor profiles that elevate them above most casual lunch spots. I’m not sure exactly what spices and extras Chef Oscar is combining, but the result keeps food from feeling bland and often adds a kick that is tolerable to even the shyest of palates.
Keep an eye on the menu for new protein shake flavors. The chef likes to dream up new combinations—like an apple-pear-berry smoothie made with nut or soy milk and vanilla protein powder. The shakes are creamy and could pass for dessert with a potent kick of vanilla in every sip. Offered in small, medium and large, the bigger sizes could satisfy lunch all on their own.
Even if you managed to be good with your lunch order, you’ll want to take the opportunity to treat yourself, even if you’re just grabbing a treat for later. Homemade sweets include a chocolate chunk skillet cookie or biscuit cinnamon rolls (baked using homemade biscuits). Both are served warm and technically individually wrapped—even though they are plenty big enough to share.
Every lunch dish offers a selection of sides ranging from fries to pasta salad, and we didn’t even touch on the list of appetizers and kid’s meals. Long story short—you’ll need to come more than once to experience the wide range of options, and since Hidden Bistro is open daily, that shouldn’t be hard to do.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.