When Jo Petteruti unlocks the doors to her taproom at 4 p.m. for business on Maine Street, it’s not idle for long.
Customers from regular to new stroll in about 10 after, alone or in groups, and greet Petteruti as if they have known her for years.
Jo’s Stillwater Tea Room is Fallon’s first speakeasy style taproom that’s non-smoking and non-gambling, including a variety of cocktails and even snacks.
“Fallon is growing,” Petteruti said. “There’s somewhere to eat, shop, and have fun. You have to open something to make it a visit worthwhile.”
As breezy music compliments the ambiance of the lounge—witty vintage signs, local antiques, and handmade trinkets embellishing wooden walls and shelves—it’s no wonder customers get settled in quickly.
It’s hard to believe the building once housed D.L. Coffee Jeweler; Petteruti said when she and her husband, Alan, renovated the building, they removed 7 tons of debris over a seven-month period. The work paid off as the Fallon Chamber of Commerce presented the Petteruti’s Business Beautification Award in 2015.
A book of the full transformation is available at the taproom for customers; it took the couple about two years to complete, opening to the public in 2015.
The Petteruti’s fell in love with Fallon after a visit in 2004 and moved to town in 2007 from Rhode Island.
“We originally wanted to open an Italian deli for years,” she said. “But we were inspired by East Coast tea rooms and speakeasies.”
Since the debut, Jo’s Stillwater and Tea Room received at least eight accolades, including First Place for Best Bar and Bartender in Best of Fallon.
This year, the taproom was nominated for Small Business Association’s 2018 Micro-Enterprise Business of the Year.
With the option to kick back on a couch, sit at a table or the bar, customers also can fiddle with small toys, snack on waffle cookies, and sip their favorite drink from the menu handcrafted by Petteruti.
Currently, she is awaiting 50 of her recipes to be approved for copyright.
“I just keep coming up with stuff,” she said.
With that, her latest drink is Not For Breakfast under the Man Cave section of the menu; a bourbon of choice, Grand Marnier, Sweet Vermouth, and a splash of orange juice. A new Moscow Mule also has been added, the Apple Mule, made with Verdi local apple whiskey.
With a variety of tastes on the menu, it’s no surprise the taproom attracts customers from Austin, Lake Tahoe, and Yerington according to Petteruti.
With that, the idea of expanding is under consideration; Petteruti said she is working with the Churchill Economic Development Authority.
“Kind of like a franchise,” she said. “We want to expand to more locations and circulate more local dollars.”
In March, Jo’s Stillwater Tea Room will turn three and a public celebration is in the works.
But to those who are planning to make a stop at Jo’s, don’t forget to sign the guest book below the Truckee Station pay phone antique.
“You should have fun every day,” she said. “You never know when it could be your last.”
Jo’s Stillwater Tea Room is open Tuesday-Saturday 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. at 85 South Maine St.