Video by Bob Conrad
The long-awaited Reno Public Market won’t open this month as originally planned.
Instead, the RPM team has announced a soft opening date in early November, citing health district delays as its main reason.
According to Nettie Oliverio with Foothill Partners, which is developing the project, RPM’s status as the first food hall in Reno has been responsible for some of the delays as many of the processes and operations differ from a typical restaurant, presenting new challenges to the governing departments.
While Reno residents won’t be throwing back cappuccinos and watching live shows at the food hall-meets-community space just yet, we took a tour of RPM and can report on what will be debuting in a couple of months.
RPM is Reno’s first food hall, Oliverio said, and it is a concept that has swept big cities across the nation in recent years, bringing together several local food purveyors and giving them a cost-effective space to have a brick and mortar.
In all, there are 18 food vendors in the small pod-like spaces on the venue’s bottom floor. Most are equipped with fire pits so food can be cooked on-site, including the clever Wok & Roll bowl that spins as it heats your meal.
There are, however, a couple of pods in the middle that specialize in baked goods and grab-and-go items that do not need the cooking features. An Italian coffee shop will take the pod immediately to the right of the front doors.
Each tenant has access to its own dry and cold storage unit in a separate wing of the building, closed off to guests.
The food hall operator FireTen Hospitality, out of West Palm Beach, Florida, will host alcohol at The Honey Bar. As is the norm with most food hall operations, individual businesses don’t serve cocktails, but a central bar doles them out to clientele regardless of where they are eating.
According to Oliverio, there will be 500 seats inside and 275 seats outside, including a sprawling second floor that looks over the downstairs stage, Live at Faye’s.
The sign over the ADA-compliant stage reads “Faye’s,” and winks at Reno’s history. Recovered during demolition, it comes from an old storefront for a dress shop – “Faye’s” – that once stood in the same shopping center as RPM and offers an interesting juxtaposition between itself and the modern industrial space.
Doug Wiele, the founding partner and president of Foothill Partners, serves on the California Commission on Disability Access. A large part of RPM’s construction included making it an accessible arts venue, where musicians and artists could easily access every part of the space. This involves the inclusion of elevators between levels and a ramp leading to the stage.
His considerations also extended into the designs for clientele, including ADA-compliant bar tops throughout the upstairs seating area.
At any time, there may be a performance going on in the buzzy food hall, including everything from live musical performances to Reno-centric panel discussions.
Reno PBS also has a space on the upper deck where they can create podcasts and live stream events happening at RPM to the public as well as stream their own content onto the large LED screen that sits above the Faye’s stage.
It all feeds into RPM’s other major export: art.
Makers Paradise, an Oakland and Berkeley-based non-profit organization that promotes community engagement through diverse art, is responsible for much of the artist territory on-site.
The back of the building includes several artist studios, closed to the public, and communal work spaces for the resident art collective. Here, there will be plenty of equipment and materials for artists to work with across a variety of mediums. Outside there is a kiln for firing pottery and other pieces.
There will also be classroom spaces open to the public where rotating artists can come in and teach mediums to people of all ages and skill levels.
The work created on site, in addition to work from local artists outside of RPM, will be on display throughout the food hall and in the gallery.
Wandering Wyld will bring in pieces from its community of 350 working artists, with no less than 60 represented at a time in its retail space.
RPM includes two signature restaurants. The downstairs unit is rented by FiftyFifty Brewing Co. out of Truckee, which will brew on site and sell food as part of a full restaurant concept.
There is a second unit upstairs with sprawling windows overlooking Plumb Lane and an outdoor patio space that doesn’t yet have a committed tenant.
As of Sept. 13, there was only one other food vendor space available, and it was in negotiations to be filled.
Food vendors committed to RPM include BurgerNV, The Pink Taqueria, V’s Churro Bar, Bone Appetit, A La Parrilla Latin Food, Los Cipotes Salvadoran, Nash and Proper Chicken and more. Many of the businesses will be familiar to the community as food truck operators and caterers opening a permanent, immobile location.
UPDATE: The soft-opening date originally reported is an invitation-only event. We will report on the market’s opening when it is announced.
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.