Developer: City could be culinary capital

By Dave Frank

Appeal Staff Writer

City businesses should work together to attract more visitors by promoting local restaurants and the V&T Railway project, according to a consultant.

Roger Brooks, chief executive officer of Washington State-based Destination Development, said tourists will come to eat or ride the train and stay for the high-quality shopping and entertainment.

Brooks will host a workshop on tourism ideas tonight.

City hall can help by posting signs and banners, he said but the "brand" of restaurants and the V&T will only work if its promoted by businesses.

The brand will help change the city's identity as the "stepchild of Reno, Tahoe and Virginity City," he said, by using features it already specializes in.

The V&T could also tie the two parts of the brand together by operating a dining car, he said, and other attractions such as a culinary university program would also help.

The brand isn't meant to take away anything from other industries, he said, "but you have to be known for something."

None of this is possible until the freeway traffic is rerouted, however, he said, and visitors feel comfortable walking around downtown.

The city has a variety of great restaurants, said Carson City Visitors' Bureau Executive Director Candy Duncan, including places people can go for fine dining, like Adele's, or a good burger, like Cactus Jack's Casino.

But businesses can be their own worst enemies, she said, by thinking the city doesn't have good enough restaurants to attract visitors.

"We just act like it is such a podunk city sometimes," she said.

Scott Dockery, operations manager at Charter Communications, said the city does have a variety of restaurants and some very good ones, but "I don't know if I'd see Carson City in a light like that."

Promoting Carson City for its hotels, gaming and distance to Lake Tahoe in addition to restaurants might be a better idea, he said.

But Stan Jones, owner of the Purple Avocado gift shop in Carson City, said restaurants are attractions the city has right now and places everyone in the city can identify with.

"I'm excited about it," he said. "I just think we need to get something going."

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

If you go

WHAT: Workshop with consultant Roger Brooks to discuss "branding" of city

WHEN: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today

WHERE: Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 801 S. Carson St.

RSVP: Contact Candy Duncan at 687-7410 or Candace@visitcarsoncity.com; or Joe McCarthy at 887-2101 or jmccarthy@ci.carson-city.nv.us

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