Generation Boomer Review

Review from Generation Boomer!  Read below, or visit their website:


There seem to be two kinds of people in Reno–those who don’t yet know about The Great Full Gardens Café & Eatery and those who devotedly eat there on a regular basis. Until recently I was among the former group but made the transition when a friend and I decided to “do lunch” and we wanted to try someplace new.

Great Full Gardens Restaurant

When we arrived at 11:30 it was about half full. While we were perusing the intriguing menu, wondering what to choose from the tempting and innovative items, the door kept opening. By 11:45 all the tables were taken and by noon there were people waiting at the door, the overflow spilling out onto the sidewalk. We were elated, we had innocently gotten there early.

We both finally opted for a sandwich, Turkey Reuben for Carol, BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado with aioli) for me. But this wasn’t any ordinary BLTA; it was served on toasted naan and accompanied by Quinoa, my choice from among the three options for a side.

The first bite of each had me raving and Carol was, too. Bliss! We could have, and probably should have, exchanged a taste but neither of us were willing to part with anything on our plate. Our intent had been to order a whole sandwich (you can also order halves), eat part of it and take the remainder home but they were so good we couldn’t stop and with so many people waiting for a table we didn’t dare linger without eating. To say we were both impressed would be an understatement.

With a copy of the menu in hand, I suggested to my spouse that we go there for breakfast. (It was really more of an announcement than a request). Since I usually prefer lunch fare, he was surprised but thought the food sounded intriguing so we made a date for Saturday morning.

We got there at 10:45 and grabbed the last available table. Even though we had carefully studied that menu at home, we examined every plate that went by, peered at the fare on nearby tables and changed our minds. Several times. Everything looked sensational and from the buzz around us I assume everything was. Our pleasantly patient waitress suggested I consider ordering her favorite, The Bedazzle, so I did and I was bedazzled. A Liege Waffle (one of their specialties) topped with egg sunny-side up, hickory smoked bacon, basil and Havarti cheese with real maple syrup.

Back for another lunch, this time the Gourmet Grilled Cheese that bears no resemblance to any grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had. Four kinds of cheese with Pesto aioli and heirloom tomatoes melted between Truckee sourdough. Amazing!

Great Full Gardens

Lunch yet again with three other friends–different dishes for everyone, two of which included Coleslaw. One amid the group is an ardent coleslaw fan and one never orders it (that would be me) but I did taste it and we both gave it an A+. Now my goal is to try everything on the menu which should keep me “doing lunch” for quite awhile.

I peeked in one evening while in the neighborhood to see what happens for dinner; every night there is a different special, always fish. It was Chilean Sea Bass that night, which came with either soup or salad, accompanied by sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables. I was tempted to skip the party I was headed to and just stay there.

Owners Gino & Juli Scala are the “birth parents” of the CaféOwners Gino & Juli Scala are the “birth parents” of the Café, subsequently joined by third partner, Cyndi Wallis. They have a hugely successful venture and don’t need any words from me to increase patronage. In fact, I had second thoughts about writing this article because it’s hard enough to get in as it is. There are plans to expand with another location in south Reno next year. They have been featured on local television and in the Reno Gazette. Their story is intriguing; their premise is Fresh, Local, and Wholesome. They grow all their own tomatoes and get the rest of their produce from local organic suppliers.

Gino is Gino The Soup Man, creator of their 16 popular soups, worthy of special mention even if you aren’t a soup lover. The Organic Totally Tomato is always on the menu along with one of the others, which rotate daily. (I’m hoping to get there on Cocoanut, Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder day.) All of the soups can be purchased for take-out at the Café or at the Great Basin Community Co-Op, and seven of them are sold at Whole Foods Market. That’s pretty impressive, how did that happen? The soups are so good Whole Foods approached them and when corporate headquarters saw how rapidly they were selling in the Reno store, they expanded to 13 Whole Foods stores between Reno and northern California.

So get thee to the computer and read all about it on their website, ( Everything you need to know is there. Then get yourself to 555 S. Virginia between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and hope you can nab a table. Or take some friends; reservations are taken for groups of 5 or more @ 324-2013. DISCLAIMER: I do not present myself as a food critic, merely a “foodie,” meaning I like to eat. Preferably lunch, with a friend. And if the food is fabulous, it’s even better.