City restaurants sales improving in spite of slow economy | NevadaAppeal.com
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City restaurants sales improving in spite of slow economy

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

The Station Grille closed last week after 15 years in business, but, in Carson City where sales are worse than a slumping state average, business at restaurants might be improving.

The downtown restaurant closed indefinitely Oct. 19 blaming the slow economy that many restaurants also see as a problem. The last three monthly state sales tax reports do show that this is true, but it also shows restaurant sales growing.

The three most recent Nevada Department of Taxation reports, which come out two months after the month they report on, show city restaurant sales tax revenue up about 11 percent in July compared to July 2007, with overall sales down 11 percent.

Restaurant sales were up about 11 percent in June, while overall sales were down about 20 percent.

In May, restaurants sales were up by 2.5 percent while city sales were down 2.5 percent.

Sales were down overall including at restaurants this year before May but were generally down less at restaurants.

The improvement since the beginning of the years is showing at several restaurants in Carson City.

Brugo’s Take-N-Bake Pizza Bistro in North Town Plaza opened in March and is already planning to open another store in southwest Reno.

Chris McDonald, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Troy, said people have a choice of where to spend their money in the slow economy and only restaurants that have both good food and good service can compete.

“I think what it is is this: Everyone is going to do battle,” she said.

The 11 employees at Brugo’s have had to work hard, though, she said, because what should be a Kmart anchor store in the shopping center became the city’s largest empty building five years ago.

B’Sghetti’s in downtown Carson City is doing well, said owner Scott Doerr, but it has had to expand to do so.

The Italian-cuisine restaurant has done more catering and served more large parties in their banquet room, he said, along with opening the banquet room on weekend nights as a lounge club called Plan B.

“We can’t sit back and let the business come to us,” he said. “We have to go after it.”

Paul Lau, owner of Genghix Asian Fusion on North Carson Street, said the slow economy is hurting all restaurants in Carson City, but a busy lunchtime is keeping him in business.

Genghix Asian Fusion hasn’t done too much advertising, he said, but people are getting to know the restaurant’s food such as its popular Mongolian Beef.

“Little by little, it’s getting better,” he said.

The relatively good sales for Carson City restaurants reflects well on the Carson City Downtown Consortium’s work to promote downtown and its restaurants, said Carson City Visitors Bureau Executive Director Candy Duncan.

The group has worked to clean up downtown and promote businesses. It also endorsed a plan to market and expand Carson City’s culinary scene.

People who live in Carson City often have a “terrible idea” of the restaurants in the city, she said, but should realize what the state sales reports show.

“It supports our feeling that we have great restaurants in Carson City,” she said.

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