An old Reno guy, Terry Cafferty, checks in…

SOMETIMES IT’S JUST NICE TO GIVE THE JOYSTICK OVER TO A BUDDY AND LET HIM FLY THE PLANE! THIS IS SUCH A TIME, (AND YES, I DO KNOW WHO TERRY IS WITHOUT HIS REMINDER.) I CHANGED NOTHING [OK, I DELETED ‘LITTLE” PRECEDING WAL ON HIS TEXT], GOING TO SIGN HIM UP FOR SUNDAY MORNINGS!  AND I E-MAILED HIM TO SEND A BIO FOR HIS OLD FRIENDS…

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CaffertyHi Karl, I’m Terry Cafferty, (now 70-year-old) son of Cactus Tom and brother of Jack Cafferty of CNN (now retired). I really enjoyed your column on Reno restaurants. As a young boy (when the family was still one), when my dad left the house for work early weekday mornings, he’d sometimes take a large pot, so that on the way home he could stop by Toscano, where Dimitri would fill the pot with scrumptious mostaccioli. Pizza at Festina’s was a treat beyond compare. I’ve eaten pizza all over the globe and never found anything to match it. Ralph could barely speak English, but man, he could make pizza! I also remember the Christmas Tree, halfway up the Mount Rose Road on the Reno side of the mountain, where owner Guy Michaels’ wife made Roquefort dressing beginning with beer as base liquid. The steaks were fantastic, but the roquefort salad was my delight. Mrs. Michaels also kept at least one African lion as a pet! All night dancing on weekends was often followed (before heading home to bed) by a steak-and-eggs meal at the Waldorf, where Jack Joseph was sometimes found wrapping up his late, late, late jazz music show. Soul food could be had at Kiah’s Squeeze Inn near Chet and link’s Sportsman store. And a terrific chili-and-cheese omelet could be had at Landrum’s diner on close-in South Virginia Street. For Mexican food, Pancho’s in Sparks, near the (then at least) east end of town, and run by Pancho and his wife alone, was peerless. My favorite was the chili verde, with sides of (not refried) pinto beans and freshly-hend-made corn tortillas. Previous to Pancho’s truly excellent Mexican cuisine was to be found at the Moana Steak House (in the parking lot of Moana Ball Park, where the Reno Silver Sox plied their trade in the Pacific Coast league. And let’s not forget bar sandwiches at the Wells Avenue Lounge, where after-hours show musicians came to play great jazz until the wee hours. Thanks for taking me down memory lane, Karl.

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5 thoughts on “An old Reno guy, Terry Cafferty, checks in…

  1. Well, I certainly remember Cactus Tom and most of the places Terry writes about, except for the Steak House in the ballpark parking lot (might have been before my time, before 1953?). Sure wish I had known about Pancho’s. And sure wish we had another Festina’s and Spaughi’s…still miss both of the restaurants and try every new Italian and Pizza joint that opens, but have not yet found a proper replacement for either one! Close, maybe, but something is always missing.

  2. Phyllis, I think the steakhouse Terry is referring to is probably Johnny’s Open Door, across Moana from the ballpark. And in 1953 it might have been gone…thanks for writing! Karl

    • Hi Karl, I remember hearing about Johnny’s Open Door. Was it on Moana or another street…do you know? My friend, Sue Hale Preston is in town this week. We are going to get together for dinner but I really wanted the three of us to meet to discuss where Bill Harper’s father built his home on West Second Street and the church behind it. She and Bill were close friends since maybe third grade and she knows so much about the history there. I think you and I briefly touched that subject one time but I know you like to talk to people who have ‘been there’ more than just heard about it. Is there a way to get a hold of you if she and you are available to get together? I don’t know how long she will be here. My cell no. is 250-xxxx. Thank you for writing. Phyllis

  3. Just read “across Moana”…sorry…I guess where Yen Ching was? That restaurant probably has a few tales to tell if it is the same one.

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