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Warning: Brunching at Chez Louie May Lead to Mind-Blowing Disclosures


Exhibit A

My best friend in the entire world — a woman I have known for 25+ years, my former college roomie, a lifelong friend who has endured 1990s-inspired big hair and bad fashion with me (Exhibit A, left) and my closest confidant — revealed something so jarring during a recent brunch, I had to question my very existence.

Here’s the shocking reveal: My BFF goes to a local, hole-in-the-wall restaurant about once every three days to buy an 8-pound bag of ice. Because she likes that restaurant’s particular kind of ice.

Let that sink in: My BFF — a busy mom, an attorney, a wife and contributing member of society — is obsessed with a certain kind of ice.

I had no idea.

And it turns out, all I needed was brunch to learn this particularly charming insight about a woman I really thought I knew.

Karena and I recently spent a few hours at a not-so-hole-in-the-wall establishment: We visited the Nevada Museum of Art on a sunny Sunday morning for the Sunday Music Brunch at Chez Louie. She and I typically have lunch together about once every few weeks during a busy workday. But that weekend, over mimosas and Bloody Marys, I got to know her on a whole new level — adorable ice obsession included.

Escaping the chaos of a typical workday may have been all it took. But to enjoy a relaxing brunch with her, against the backdrop of a world-class museum, the setting gave us time to relax — and fully disclose, apparently. We were first greeted by the live music, which I have to say, completely elevated the experience. Harmonicist Tom Stryker and his partner Jimmy Vermilion played classics my parents used to play on the turntable during my childhood, like Sunny Side of the Street and It Had to Be You (peppered with unexpected choices like All My Exes Live in Texas). Tom and Jimmy were warm and interactive and adorable, and being serenaded while dining and catching up with my best friend was a truly rare treat.

We were then asked about drink choices. Turns out, Chez Louie has bottomless mimosas AND Bloody Marys. For the good of journalism, I was forced to try both. Thank you, Reno Moms Blog. Our waiter was super helpful, offering this tip: “Once you’ve had two, you might as well keep ‘em coming.” Translation: You’ll get more bang for your buck if you go bottomless. Just consider a ride share at the conclusion of the meal, or bring your own designated driver.

We then examined the seasonal menu, which had a welcoming range of options (though not overwhelming in terms of choices), all of which were tempting in their own right. We considered the crème brulee French toast, but thought it seemed too decadent. We contemplated the chez shrimp louie, but thought it sounded too cold.

I landed on the Louie Scramble — a Choose Your Own Adventure-style egg scramble featuring a choice of meat (bacon, ham or basque chorizo); a choice of cheese (cheddar, gruyere or parmesan); and a selection of veggies (among them mushrooms, spinach, zuke, tomato, jalapeno peppers, red onion and bell pepper). This is served with a side — breakfast potatoes, cup of fresh fruit or demi chez salad — and toast for $17.

She chose the brunch burger — an angus beef patty with cheddar, herb butter, farm egg, crispy onions, apple-wood smoked bacon on a grilled brioche bun with a choice of side for $18.


The food was undeniably spectacular. The eggs were light and fluffy, and the veggies perfectly seasoned. The breakfast potatoes were delicate and Goldilocks-approved (not over/under cooked, but instead, just right).

Mikalee Byerman and Karena But seriously: That conversation! I felt so blessed to spend some time with my bestie, eating delectable food, listening to smooth jams and learning about her odd ice proclivities.

If you’re considering a place for an off-the-beaten path brunch, this is a perfect venue. The prices are affordable, the music sublime, the drinks bottomless and the setting remarkable. They do have a children’s menu, but in my humble opinion, this is a wonderful — and probably much-needed for many of you — girlfriend escape worthy of a babysitter’s assistance.

And by the way, music choices change weekly. Here’s the tentative schedule through the rest of the year. I can personally vouch for both Tom Stryker and Mel Wade — two incredible local acts. And based on these, I’m guessing the rest are equally awesome:

  • 10/14/18 Tom Stryker
  • 10/21/18 Colin Ross
  • 10/28/18 The Socks
  •  11/4/18 Mel Wade (Mel & Gia)
  • 11/11/18 Judith & Rocky
  • 11/18/18 Colin Ross
  • 11/25/18 The Socks
  • 12/2/18 Tom Styker
  • 12/9/18 Judith & Rocky
  • 12/16/18 Colin Ross
  • 12/23/18 Erika Paul
  • 12/30/18 The Socks

I’ll be back for sure. And next time, Karena should be prepared to learn about my super secret, mind-blowing revelation.

Now all I need to do is come up with one.


About Mikalee Byerman

Mikalee Byerman
Voted "Best Creative Writer" in 2018 by readers of the Reno News & Review, Mikalee Byerman will henceforth be talking about this distinction ad nauseam because it's the first and only popularity contest this former buck-toothed nerd has ever won in her life. She is a humor essayist whose highly controversial blog, Me 2.0, has been featured on the Huffington Post and TIME Magazine's websites. Her writing also has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Southwest Spirit Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine. Her debut book — 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die — was published last year by Reedy Press. During the day, she is VP of Strategy for the Estipona Group. Oh, and her name rhymes with "prickly fireman," though FYI, she's neither prickly nor a fireman.

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