Airport may break curse with new restaurant idea
The empty restaurant at Carson City’s municipal airport was recently painted sunshine yellow, offering cheery promises for airport officials.
An entrepreneurial pastry chef is eyeing the building and negotiations are starting after the airport took over the lease this week.
Officials are looking to turn the location into a family-fun restaurant and break the curse that has sent many past restaurant and bar owners nose-diving through the years.
The small, oval building has been called a “death chamber” for any restaurateur. It sits empty now, but operators have run the gamut from a 1950s family diner to a biker bar and airport cafe. Most recently, owners dabbled in karaoke.
“The place is cursed or something,” said Sal Guzzetta, who operated Brenda’s Restaurant with Brenda Porter in 2001. “Everything’s failed.”
Carson City Airport Authority on Wednesday reworked a lease deal with Sterling Air Ltd. which returned restaurant operations to the airport. In exchange, the Airport Authority extended the company’s lease of a hanger for 50 years.
A local contractor, Buzz Devoll, is interested in turning the restaurant into a family-oriented cafe or pastry shop, said Airport Authority Chairman Harlow Norvell. Devoll, owner of Buznaumie Business Enterprises, did not return phone calls this week.
Airport officials are encouraged with the family-style restaurant idea that doesn’t include alcohol.
“He’s a real enterprising guy,” Norvell said. “We are changing directions completely. It’s not an entertainment establishment. It would be bright and lively – a place for kids to come in.”
Devoll makes pastries and doughnuts from scratch and is talking about selling his homemade-style goods and other foods, Norvell said.
Built in 1962, the building needs major renovation to meet city code before it can reopen.
“There are a number of very serious deficiencies,” Norvell said. “The repairs are going to be enormously costly.”
The airport might be able to make some repairs to get the business started, if Devoll is still interested, he said. Airport officials were expected to begin negotiating with Devoll on Thursday.
In the past, restaurateurs and bar owners were beset with problems at the location. Guzzetta said he and Porter didn’t know who to blame, but they are sure the three-month closure of the road fronting the restaurant drove away their customers.
At first, business took off. They had excellent food with reasonable prices and started getting regular customers. Eventually, they walked away from the $95,000 loss, Guzzetta said.
“We lost every customer we had,” Guzzetta said. “It’s terrible. We had fantastic entertainment, guitarists, magic shows. We did everything in the world to make that place work and nothing worked.”
Recent restaurant history:
• Windsock Lounge – 1997 – 1999
• Hanger 17 Restaurant and Lounge – 1997 – 1999
• Mistletoe Airport Cafe – 1999 – 2000
• Brenda’s Restaurant – 2001
• Mr. Poor’s Roadhouse – 2002 – 2003
Source: Carson City business license records.
Contact Jill Lufrano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.