Verdi Inn

The Verdi Inn was built in 1926 by Alibrando 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 1940’s. 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 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.

Present Day

In 1986, the Engels sold the building to Vincent and Michael DeDomenico, brothers from San Francisco. The building was remodeled in a style called “Gothic Western” by Michael. It was supposed to open as a bar and restaurant with banquet facilities. Construction was never completed and the building remains vacant and deteriorating.