SoDo stakes their claim in Reno

Jun 20th, 2012
By Clint Jolly

I love seeing local talent team up for a new venture in the food world. With SoDo, we get solid skills in management, culinary expertise and delightful service. It’s a recipe for a great experience in dining at a location that needs a little life.

South Downtown

SoDo, short for “south downtown” is on the street level of the cool building at 275 Hill Street. Surrounded by law offices, salons and plenty of other professionals the location is a easy to find but sits in a neighborhood that doesn’t quite fit into the downtown or midtown areas. I’m happy to see the trio behind SoDo step up and stake their claim in this city.

The Crew

Executive Chef David Stern has spent his time in a few great Reno kitchens since his graduation from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Most recently he was creating cuisine at Charlie Palmer’s in GSR and The French Quarter restaurant at the Men’s Club. He is using his traditional technique on international ingredients to bring us a North American style in a menu “created as if we took a walk through the streets of the world and brought the ingredients home”.

Owner and Partner Joel Giandalia moved to Reno 22 years ago and has put his touches on many great bars and restaurants around town. As Food and Beverage director for Eldorado Reno and regional GM for Charlie Palmer’s west coast restaurants, he’s got the chops to create a great dining experience. He says SoDo will be “guest-driven, with fully empowered employees. Our success will ultimately be measured by the satisfaction of our guests and team”.

Front of the house manager James Bukowski brings many years of experience from Reno to Iceland into the service experience at SoDo. “I always wanted to go into management and be the personality that I truly am. I just love feeding and taking care of our guests!” was his comment on opening this new venture.

The Experience

I’ve had the chance to grab a few different dishes at the new eatery. From classic Cobb salads and tomato bisque to a unique White BBQ chicken sandwich, the food is tasty, fresh and served with humanity. They offer a separate lunch and dinner menu to keep the variety throughout the day and the price points are all very reasonable.

The menu and restaurant are all very approachable and a good mix of casual atmosphere and interesting food. Warm days mean the patio is the best choice for a seat with umbrellas to keep the same at bay. Inside, a mix of everything from bar seating to a more private room in the back of the restaurant offer up options for any occasion. Tall windows let in plenty of natural light and give a view of all the goings on in this busy professional area.

The wine and beer list is large enough to offer variety without being too bulky. I haven’t tried their cocktails yet but the bar is stocked with some of the best labels around. It makes for a great spot to grab a drink and some appetizers from their small plates section of the menu.

Another very cool experience they are offering are customized tasting menus for special occasions. Check out their recent Facebook post for an example of a one off dining experience.

You can check out SoDo Monday through Saturday from 11am  to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 8pm at 275 Hill Street. Call ahead for reservations at 322-2710. Of course, they’re on Facebook and Twitter with a new website coming soon.

All images from Digiman Studio



Chef Clint Jolly is a Reno native who has spent most his life in the search of great food. The owner of Great Thyme Catering is happy to see a food revolution taking place in Reno and northern Nevada. You can read more from Clint on his personal blog