Starting in the Gold Rush era, northwestern Nevada attracted a large population of Basque immigrants, whose legacy chiefly lives on in a scattered collection of restaurants that serve hearty family-style meals. Diners choose an entree, like garlicky lamb chops, and an all-you-can-eat feast for the table appears: soup, salad, beans, French fries, bread, dessert and coffee, and even a bottle of wine—all for generally under 30 bucks a head. Reno proper is home to Louis' Basque Corner and the Santa Fe Hotel, but for a true old-school experience, it’s worth the hourlong drive to JT Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville, which appears to have hardly changed since the Lekumberry family (which still runs the place) opened it in 1960.
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Published on Sep 20, 2013 as a web exclusive.