The Verdi Inn
The Verdi Inn was built in 1926 by Alibrando “Ali” Panelli. Ali designed and worked beside the builders. It was a 22-room hotel with a restaurant and bar. Ali was the chef and his wife, Stella, was the bartender. It was the centerpiece of the town for many years and also served as a bus stop for both the school bus and the Greyhound.
The bar was built by the Brunswick Billiard Table Co. in New Jersey of Philippine Mahogany. The back bar was made of rosewood from the Black Forest in Germany. The bar was shipped to San Francisco where it was damaged in the San Francisco fire. It was then shipped to Reno by wagon train. The bar was used at the Grotto Bar in Reno on 3rd and Sierra Street where it was again damaged in a fire. As a result of that fire, 8 feet was taken out of the middle and that is what Ali installed in the Verdi Inn.
Ali and Stella rented the east end of the building to Emmett and Louise Leonard in the 1940s. The Leonard’s opened a lunch stand with several booths and served soup and sandwiches.
The Inn was sold to Ed and Gert Engel in 1961. At first, they operated only a bar. They got into the restaurant business accidentally. On Saturday nights, when a band would play, the Engels started giving their patrons free spaghetti at midnight using a family sauce. It went over so well that they started selling spaghetti dinners one day a week. As business picked up, they gradually added such delicacies as breaded frog legs, charbroiled steaks, lobster tail, and scampi.
On September 15, 1985, the Verdi Inn was damaged by fire. The outside of the building was intact, but there was smoke and fire damage throughout. The historic bar was charred.
The Verdi Inn… Present Day
On September 15, 1985, the Verdi Inn was damaged by fire. The outside of the building was left intact, but there was smoke and fire damage throughout leaving the historic bar charred and unusable without extensive repairs.