Part museum and part restaurant, Nevada Taste Site is a not-so-subtle reference to the theme of a new eatery by Derek Stonebarger, which will display pieces of history and serve local booze and Nevada-sourced bites.
Currently in the construction phase and expected to open by the end of the year, it is conveniently located at 1221 S. Main St., just two doors down from ReBAR, an antique-themed tavern Stonebarger also owns and operates. And since the tattoo shop sandwiched between the two buildings doesn’t use its back or front patios, the Nevada Taste Site and ReBAR will be able to connect the outdoor areas for al fresco dining, with the back area dubbed Patio 51.
The first thing patrons will notice as they enter the Nevada Taste Site will be the iconic Davy’s Locker sign (pictured top), which had towered above the corner near Desert Inn and Maryland Parkway since the 1960s, until the dive shuttered. Stonebarger, a history buff, salvaged the cut-up sign from a huge pile of trash and is having it restored. The classic neon fish will be a focal point of the restaurant’s décor, but will be functional as well, with all of the tap handles protruding from it.
Other accouterments will include photographs, drawings, old newspaper clippings, schematics and signs from the Nevada Test Site, some of which are being donated by longtime investigative journalist George Knapp, who has reported extensively on the Test Site and Area 51.
As for food and drinks, the new restaurant will celebrate all things made in Nevada, with 24 taps exclusively pouring local beer, products from Nevada wineries and distilleries and, as much as possible, the kitchen will use ingredients grown in the state. At this point there is no set cuisine, but Stonebarger plans to keep things fresh by bringing in a new chef every six months to design and oversee the menu. The first chef lined up to open the restaurant is Devin Hight, a specialist in Hawaiian poke and owner of the pop-up restaurant Zia Food Co. Menu items will be designed to pair with the various local beers being served.
The Nevada Taste Site is positioned to become a welcome hangout for history buffs, fans of local beer and neon enthusiasts.