Chicken restaurant under development in south Carson

Rendering by Hendon & Huckestein Architects of a Guthrie’s restaurant planned for south Carson City near the intersection of Old Clear Creek Road and Highway 395.

Rendering by Hendon & Huckestein Architects of a Guthrie’s restaurant planned for south Carson City near the intersection of Old Clear Creek Road and Highway 395.

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Come spring, residents and visitors could see a new dining option on the southern edge of Carson City.

Thursday, Ronnie Boyles, project spokesperson and director of operations for Guthrie’s West, confirmed developers are hoping to break ground by Oct. 1 on a 2,138-square-foot Guthrie’s chicken finger restaurant near the intersection of Old Clear Creek Road and Highway 395, across the street from Bodines Casino and adjacent to Comstock Country RV Resort.

Boyles said the restaurant and drive-thru could be open by April.

“Carson City is one we had on our roadmap very early,” he said.

The Carson City location is part of a greater westward rollout of the restaurant chain. Boyles said approximately 100 restaurants are planned for seven states including Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The Carson City location is in a race with another location in North Las Vegas to be completed first, said Boyles. He estimated half a dozen of the restaurants could be built in Northern Nevada, while Southern Nevada could see dozens of the brand.

According to Guthrie’s corporate website, the chain sprang from a drive-in restaurant Hal Guthrie opened in Haleyville, Ala., in 1965. The Guthrie family opened the first Guthrie’s in Auburn, Ala., in 1982 and eliminated other items from the menu to focus on chicken finger and sauce recipes.

Plans from Resource Concepts Inc. showing the current configuration of the Comstock Country RV Resort. 

“We are considered to be the pioneers of the fried chicken finger-only restaurants,” reads the site. “This new concept laid the foundation for a new market in the chicken segment of the restaurant industry.”

“As the family grew, they opened up a few more, and then they started to franchise after a lot of people inquiring,” said Boyles.

He said the company wanted to maintain “a steady pace” in the franchising process. More than 40 years later, the company is in a position to grow westward, he said.

Boyles emphasized the chain is considered “fast casual” versus fast food. This means a level of quality where things are made fresh, not from frozen product, he said. It doesn’t necessarily mean longer wait times.

“We do fresh, hot and fast,” he said. “We don’t do food warmers. Everything is made to order.”

According to the Carson City Assessor’s website, DG Carson City LLC bought two parcels totaling about 4.7 acres for $5.385 million last year. The properties are zoned general commercial and make up the former southern portion of the RV park. The properties are part of a parcel map created in 2022 that enabled consolidating the RV park to a northwest parcel and clearing the southern parcels for development.

A special use permit for the RV park was approved by Carson City planning commissioners in August 2022. According to the Community Development Department, the permit resulted in reducing RV spaces from 150 to 82, eliminating RV storage use, improving onsite circulation and extending the park west. The RV park is now housed on 6.35 acres.

Besides Guthrie’s, developers of the southern parcels are planning a gas station with convenience store, coffee shop, car wash and self-storage facility, though Guthrie’s is the only project currently being reviewed by the city.

Of Guthrie’s restaurants, Boyles said, “It’s kind of still got a special small-town touch … if you will.”

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