Lunner or linner? Reno café launches new concept
No one can stake a legal claim to the word “brunch” any more, but Reno café owner David Hutchinson is making darned sure that he’s got a solid claim to “linner.”
And now that he’s paid the Nevada Secretary of State $100 each for service marks on the two fanciful words, Hutchinson is looking for a little payoff as he launches late afternoon meals two days a week at his Nook Café.
The restaurant, a tiny 30-seat operation in a strip center at 1515 Vassar St., has done all right in the couple of years since Hutchinson began operating it.
The Nook doesn’t sell alcohol, and it doesn’t have video poker machines at the counter. But it draws a stream of regular customers, folks who live in the neighborhood or guys who work at one of the auto dealerships along nearby Kietzke Lane.
“If I could make it in 2010, I knew I’d beat the odds in the restaurant business,” Hutchinson says.
It’s a strictly family operation with Hutchinson working as the chef, while his wife, Yana, takes care of customers out front. They used to open at 7 a.m. to offer breakfast and lunch, but the hours killed the feet of the 60-something Hutchinson as he huddled under the hood at a four-foot grill, so they scaled back to 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
But some of the regulars began asking about an evening meal, so Hutchison developed the “linner” concept.
“If you’re not throwing stuff out there that’s interesting, then the business gets stagnant,” he says.
From 2-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Nook Café will offer a single, comfort-entrée — pot pie, meatloaf, stroganoff and the like — for carry-out or dining room service. Because Hutchinson will prepare a set amount of food each day, he’s taking reservations.
Hutchinson figures the target market will be singles and seniors, with maybe a sprinkling of people who want to order meals from Nook Café for weekend entertaining. He’s guessing about half the business will be carry-out.
If “linner” proves a hit, the café will add more days or more entrees.
“Business is a treadmill, and you don’t control the speed of it,” Hutchinson says. “You can’t stand still , or you’ll fall off.”
Oh, and if someone else wants to offer “linner” or “lunner”?
They can talk to Hutchinson about licensing his intellectual property.
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