Smith and River offers new riverside restaurants in Reno

It feels like it happened so fast.

Smith and River has already opened on the Riverwalk, taking over Campo’s former location (formerly owned by local restaurateur Mark Estee). He celebrated a soft opening with family, friends and the media on July 13, followed by a public opening the following day.

The new space is home to two other big names in the local food scene: Colin and MaryBeth Smith, the couple behind Roundabout Catering for 15 years. Earlier this year, the couple also took over Mark Estee’s Chez Louie location inside the Nevada Museum of Art and made it their own.

The waterfront restaurant at the base of the Palladio hasn’t undergone too many big changes aesthetically. The Smiths opted to paint the interior forest green and add glittering chain link accents to the rear “piece”. The bones of the establishment, however, have remained the same, which is likely contributing to the rapid turnaround.

That said, the menu has undergone a complete overhaul, with the launch of an all-new custom cocktail list that nods to its surroundings with drinks like Tip the Kayak (a pink and purple Empress gin and concoction of tequila which includes lime and grapefruit soda, as well as a sugar and spicy rim), Mt. Rose (a refreshing sip made with Tahoe Blue vodka, muddled cucumber, rose syrup, ginger beer and a Pimm float) and The Riverwalk (Sip Smith Gin, St. Germaine, cucumber, thyme syrup and club soda).

Another aptly named cocktail is the Mr. & Mrs. Smith, evoking images of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie but more realistically linking the cocktail list to its owners.

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If you’re a fan of smoked drinks, bartenders Smith and River have perfected the “smoke top.” While the cocktails no longer puffed smoke when they hit the table, the drinks were heavy in flavor and aroma. The Upper Truckee is a mezcal-based cocktail finished with a smoked topper while the Smoke on the Water is a twist on the Old Fashioned with the same topper treatment.

While the cocktails are undoubtedly worth the attention we’ve given them – and we highly recommend considering Smith and River as your happy hour spot on the river for small plates and drink service – there is also has food and desserts worthy of a review.

Rigatoni from Smith and River with chorizo, shrimp, spinach and jalapeño. Image: Mike Alt/This is Reno

A long list of entrees makes it easy to share plates or start your meal with something hearty. There’s everything from salads to pizzas, vegetable platters to seared tuna. My personal recommendation would be to start with the artichoke, a wood-fired bud, halved and filled with garlic croutons and served with a lemon-thyme aioli.

The lamb meatballs, plated on basmati rice and topped with mint, garlic, herb yogurt, cucumber salad and sumac, are also delicious and offer a touch of Mediterranean cuisine not heavy on the menu.

The list of entries is short and sweet. Instead of the perhaps expected steak list, Smith and River commits to dishes that are a little less traditional. For example, if you fancy yourself an octopus lover (and no, we’re not talking calamari), a grilled option finished with paprika aioli exists here.

There are also tender and delicious bone-in pork racks, pasta marinated in hearty red sauces, and light, buttery halibut. Customers can also dive into tri-tip, chicken, risotto and more.

The dessert menu includes a full line of coffee drinks, including regular and decaffeinated Blind Dog. After dinner is often the most decadent indulgence, and perhaps necessary to rouse you from the food coma you’ve fallen into. For those who saved space, the Key Lime Possett is divine: a creamy custard served in a glass jar with a coconut cookie crumble. If you order this and the Black and Tan Gelato, we recommend alternating bites or even mixing the two together for a surprising, yet satisfying taste.


50 North Sierra Street, Reno, Nevada 89501
Wednesday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

About Susie Jones

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