Overland Restaurant & Pub Aims To Change Carson Valley Culinary Landscape
by Sheila Gardner
[su_quote cite=”David Park”]“It’s not only our family, but generations in this valley remember this place. We want to continue that, to maintain old Gardnerville.”[/su_quote]
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — Within the space of a few weeks, the culinary landscape at the intersection of Gilman Avenue and Highway 395 in Gardnerville has gone from famine to feast.
On May 1, Sharkey’s casino reopened under the ownership of Mike Pegram, who also owns Carson Valley Inn. The building was extensively remodeled as well as the parking lots across Gilman and between the casino and Yager’s Garage.
Brothers Jon and David Park have been busy on the other side of the street, and plan to unveil their extensive renovation of the former Overland Basque restaurant and hotel on June 8.
The Parks, working with Ryan Gold and Justin Owen of Imperial Concepts in Reno, are completely rehabilitating the 110-year-old brick building, converting what has served Gardnerville as a butcher shop, fire department and Basque restaurant and boarding house into a 150-seat restaurant and pub.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to preserve history,” David Park said, explaining why the brothers undertook the project.
The transformation has taken five months.
The developers offered a look at the project-in-progress Monday.
Dozens of workers labored on both floors of the building and in the outdoor area as the opening date approaches.
David Park said The Overland will introduce new dining options to Carson Valley.
“It’s going to be something new, a new experience,” he said.
Sensitive to the community’s love of the Basque tradition, the Parks are keeping the name ”Overland”, and the iconic sign out front, but visitors will find an “American comfort food” menu with occasional specials honoring the Basque heritage.
“There are already amazing Basque restaurants in the area,” Gold said. “What we hope to bring are familiar dishes done really well.”
Jon and David are descendants of the pioneer Park family which established itself in Carson Valley and at Lake Tahoe more than 150 years ago.
The brothers recently opened the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at Stateline, but stated the Overland is a separate enterprise.
“There will be a lot of Carson Valley heritage in here,” Jon Park said.
[su_box title=”ON THE WEB” box_color=”#494949″]Imperial Concepts www.imperialconceptsreno.com Curious about the type of food planned for the Overland? Check out Imperial Concepts of Reno’s website which will take you to their individual restaurants’ menus. While not revealing details of the Overland menu, developers have said it will be of a similar design to the Old Granite Street Eatery.[/su_box]For 10 years, Gold and Owen have developed similar projects in Reno including Old Granite Street Eatery, Imperial Bar and Lounge, Royce Wine Bar and Lincoln Lounge.
News of the Gardnerville renovation has generated positive Facebook feedback from the Reno restaurants’ loyal clientele.
Gold isn’t ready to reveal the Overland menu, but said it would be a similar design to the Old Granite Street Eatery with a “wider range of prices.”
He described the menu as “farm-to-table” with an emphasis on locally sourced food whenever possible.
“A year ago, Jon and David approached us, and we kind of fell in love with this place and moving the project forward,” Gold said. “The catalyst was the building.”
Jon’s wife Molly said the Parks vetted numerous restaurants and chefs before deciding on Gold and Owen.
“They are a perfect fit for the Overland,” she said.
Molly Park said it’s the owners’ hope that patrons will feel special dining at the Overland.
“People can walk in dressed as casually or formally as they choose to be, and, regardless, they are going to have a great dining experience. We hope it’s the kind of place you come and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries,” she said.
Built at the turn of the 20th century by Sam Imelli, the building served as a meat market and drug store. In 1911, according to research by the Mendiko Euskaldun Cluba, Imelli added another 40 feet of frontage and a second-story that became a 12-room hotel.
The Overland operated a Basque restaurant until it closed for renovation in December.
Every effort has been made to preserve the brick walls and pressed tin ceiling, and resurface the original wood floors on the main level and upstairs where boarders once rented out 12 small rooms.
The second floor — accessible by a well-worn staircase in the center of the building — is being converted into four offices which will be available for rent.
Fans of the old Pyrenees Hotel — torn down to make way for the Sharkey’s parking lot — will be happy to learn that 10,000 bricks from the old building were carted across the street to the Overland to be used in an outdoor patio.
“We’ve given The Pyrenees a new home,” David said.
Wood from one of the Parks’ barns in Topaz also has been incorporated into the project as well as material from a house behind the Overland that was torn down to accommodate the transformation.
Attention to detail is a hallmark of Imperial Concepts projects.
The developers acknowledged it would be cheaper and easier to demolish the building and start over, but that never was the plan.
“No doubt it’s easier to build a steel building. It takes a lot of work, patience and money to do this,” Gold said of the renovation. “We have not taken the easy road, but we want this to be a game changer for Carson Valley.”
The project has employed between 20 and 40 workers, especially as the opening date nears.
“It’s been great working with local labor in helping us to meet our goals,” Gold said. “Douglas County has been super helpful along with NV Energy and the Town of Gardnerville.”
Gold said he’s made nearly a dozen trips to the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center down the street to check on detail, as well as working with longtime Gardnerville resident Michael Fischer.
The small attached building which housed Classical Glass — and the Gardnerville Fire Department many years ago — will be a pub with television and gaming in what Gold described as a “little more relaxed” atmosphere.
Seating capacity is 150 in the pub, bar and main dining room.
The Parks declined to say how much they have invested in the project, but Gold and Owen said everything about the project has been first class.
“It was important to us that the building turn out well. It’s a point of pride,” Gold said. “It’s been fun, and when work is fun, it’s not work.”
The Park brothers said they believe their grandparents — Brooks and Jeanne Park — would approve.
“I think they would love it,” Jon said. “It’s Gardnerville back in the ‘30s and ‘40s.”
Molly Park said the owners are very price conscious.
“Yes, it’s a beautiful historical building and in beautiful Carson Valley, and it should be special,” she said, “not fancy, not expensive, but special. We want people walking in in their cowboy boots and their baseball jerseys to come in and have that experience.”
David Park said he thinks the new restaurant will resonate with Carson Valley residents.
“It’s not only our family,” he said, “but generations in this valley remember this place. We want to continue that, to maintain old Gardnerville.”
[su_quote cite=”Ryan Gold, Imperial Concepts”]“No doubt it’s easier to build a steel building. It takes a lot of work, patience and money to do this. We have not taken the easy road, but we want this to be a game changer for Carson Valley.”[/su_quote]
The Parks said they appreciated the effort and investment Mike Pegram put into Sharkey’s.
“It’s a great partnership for this intersection,” David said.
The Gardnerville project comes at the same time work begins on Christopher Bently’s distillery plans at the old Minden flour mill and Bently’s renovation of the Farmer’s Bank building in downtown Minden.
“You’ve got projects going at both ends of town,” David Park said.
In keeping with their “buy local” philosophy, Gold and Owen said they have discussed purchasing beef from Bently Ranch.
“And as soon as the distillery is up and running, we’ll be pouring their whiskey,” Gold said.
Despite their entry into the restaurant business, David Park said his family is not abandoning ranching.
“This is an opportunity for us to diversify,” he said. “But we’re still ranching. It’s the first thing we do when we get up in the morning.”
[su_box title=”NOW HIRING” box_color=”#494949″]The Overland Restaurant and Pub is hiring for all wait, bar, host, bus, and back of house positions, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Park Ranch, 1300 Buckeye Road in Minden. Owners plan to hire 60 full- and part-time employees.[/su_box]
Carson Valley Times contributor Sheila Gardner is a long-time Gardnerville resident who retired in 2014 after more than 30 years at The Record-Courier.
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