Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Grate Thyme Kitchen

It takes courage to start up a business at any time, and even more so in a relatively depressed area like Fernley in a time when elements of the media and at least one political party continue to repeat endlessly that we're a horrible depression; however, here in Fernley, a chef is taking a chance by opening up a breakfast/lunch cafe called Grate Thyme Kitchen in Fernley's Old Downtown district, at 150 E Main St just east of Main Street's only traffic light, at the Alt-95/50 junction. They opened last Thursday. Lisa and I had seen the preparations (the place is on the path we walk between the house and the post office), and decided to try them for brunch on Saturday. We're glad we did.

The restaurant is not fancy. It has simple wooden tables and some decorations that attempt to give it a French-style look. It effectively is trying to evoke a French-influenced cafe in Fernley, Nevada, with a French chef/owner and her American relations who have moved here in the past year making a go of things. The menu is not long and not hugely fancy, and they're open for breakfast and lunch only, from 5:30 AM to 3 PM daily.

When we got there, the restaurant was nearly full, and it's a good thing we were not in a hurry, because orders were backed up. We were served water in a resealable French lemonade bottle, adding a slight air of sophistication to the meal. With just the one person cooking in the small kitchen, it took quite a while for our breakfast scrambles (mine with chorizo and mushrooms, Lisa's with ham, tomatoes, and mushrooms) to come up. On the side were Scottish biscuits and Irish soda bread. (We preferred the biscuits, but both were good.) Lisa and I were both impressed by the quality of the cooking. The seasoning on the potatoes in particular were excellent, and the presentation was good, too. The total price including beverages and my generous tip was $30.

This is clearly a family operation. The place was so busy that one of the members of the family who dropped by to see how things were going was pressed into service on the spot. There were some obvious teething problems (a misrouted order at the table next to us, and the slow service), but I still think that it was pretty good, which is why I over-tipped.

By the time we left, the peak of the rush had passed and we shared a few words with the chef. The restaurant has done no advertising other than a "now open" banner facing Main Street, but they tell us they've been pretty busy so far. We wish them the best of luck, and hope the chef is able to hire an assistant soon so she doesn't burn out. One good thing for their immediate prospects is that we're nearing the "high season" in Fernley when the swarms of temporary workers fill up Fernley's RV parks for a couple of months working at the Amazon warehouse. Our server told us that one of the parks already asked for menus. I reckon this restaurant will be a good place for people working the overnight shift to come after getting off work.

People have made fun of us for moving to what they consider a rural desert backwater that might as well be in Death Valley by their standards, but we now have five different restaurants (admittedly one of them is a burrito stand) within three blocks of our house. Grate Thyme is trying to bring some French-style charm to what some people disparagingly call "Ferntucky," and Lisa and I look forward to dining here again. And for those of you planning on coming to next year's Burning Man, you might want to stop in here on your way out to the Playa as well. If you happen to be passing Fernley on I-80, get off the freeway at exits 46 eastbound or 48 westbound and give this place a try.

They don't seem to have a web site (yet), but if and when they do, I'll link to it. They are working hard, serving good breakfasts and lunches at a reasonable price, and deserve good fortune. I hope I can do a little bit to help them out with some positive word of mouth.
Tags: fernley, food, lisa, restaurants

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