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Reno restaurant with deep roots in Nevada's history named among best in US (from UsaToday)


A restaurant that celebrates Nevada culture and the spirit of the gold rush of the Old West has made national news: Along with 46 other restaurants, Louis' Basque Corner was included in the 2024 USA TODAY Restaurants of the Year list. General Manager Craig Benson said he and the Louis' team were honored to be included.

Link: UsaToday

Evan Haddad / Reno Gazette Journal. "It's fantastic and very flattering," Benson said. "And it makes us feel like all the hard work we do is being recognized. To be a part of this list on this level is incredibly special."

What makes Louis' Basque Corner stand out 

Basques first arrived in the West during the Gold Rush, finding terrain similar to their native lands in present-day France and Spain. In Nevada, Basques prospered as sheep and cattle herders. They have been an integral part of the Silver State's social fabric for over a century.

Louis and Lorraine Erreguible opened Louis' Basque Corner two days before Christmas in 1967, in a turn-of-the-last-century Reno hotel that catered to sheepherders in town for the winter. The restaurant has remained in the same spot ever since.

Over the decades, the restaurant helped popularize Basque cooking and celebrate Basque culture in Northern Nevada.

Today, owners Chris Shanks and Brian Elcano continue Louis’ vision. Diners are seated at communal wooden tables. Sides are served family style: Basque beans, soup, salad, bread and fries to sop up the juices from a rotating menu of entrees, including steaks, chops, oxtail stew, sweetbreads and lamb, all seasoned to perfection.

The restaurant's interior is rustic with brick and wood-paneled walls showcasing a deer trophy and portrait of Louis Erreguible in traditional Basque garb. A flight of creaky narrow stairs delivers guests to the second floor, with a full bar, pool table and banquet space.

To Benson, whose own grandparents were immigrants from Norway, Louis' is a cornerstone of Reno culture.

"We realize that we're an iconic place not only in Reno but the state of Nevada, the country and world," Benson said. "We get people flying in from Spain, France, and this is their first stop."

What to order at Louis' Basque Corner

Roast leg of lamb. Louis' serves regal portions of slow-roasted leg of lamb served in a brown sauce. Louis' lamb chops are another option.

Steaks. Cooked-to-order sirloins, New Yorks and a filet mignon that doesn't skimp on the sauteed garlic that comes as an extra. The oxtail stew is another classic dish.

Sweetbreads. Louis' sweetbreads come sautéed with garlic, peppers, mushrooms and onions or prepared in a red wine and mushroom sauce.

Picon Punch: A rite of passage for Northern Nevadans, this cocktail packs a Pyrenees-sized punch. A staple of Basque cuisine, the Picon Punch consists of Amer Picon, grenadine, brandy and sparkling water.

See the full menu.

Did you know?  

The key ingredient of the famed Picon Punch was invented by Frenchman Gaëtan Picon in 1837. The drink found its way from a French aperitif into the hands of the Italians and Basques. From there, the beverage traveled through the American West, finding a home in burgeoning Basque-American communities.

Local legislators even tried, and failed, to make Picon Punch the official drink of Nevada.

Details: Louis' Basque Corner, 301 E. Fourth St., Reno, Nev.; 775-323-7203,

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