Carson City Restaurant Hopes To Boost Downtown Appeal

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Two brothers are trying to turn one of Carson City's oldest landmarks into the newest hot spot.

And locals are hoping it's the beginning of a much-needed trend.

"We need a lot of change," says Karlene Johnson, who's lived in Carson City since 1966. "We need to renew downtown and that's what this does."

The Firkin and Fox Pub opened on South Carson Street three weeks ago; and about 650 people have been passing through its doors every day since.

"We wanted to create something cozy," says co-owner Jim Phallan. "Where you just feel comfortable."

And there are few places where Carson lifers feel more comfortable than the 145-year-old St. Charles Hotel, a location that helped Jim and his brother Jeff sell the idea to Firkin executives.

After finding a location, it took them seven months to resurrect the aging venue and transform it into a three-room restaurant that accommodates smokers and non-smokers.

But Jim says giving young people a place to hang out and sprucing up downtown makes it all worthwhile.

"The whole redevelopment is something we really wanted to be a part of..."

The Phallans say their experiment in Carson is just the beginning. They own franchise rights to four Firkins in Northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe and plan on opening a sister restaurant in Reno in the fall.

"It's definitely great," says Lyndi Johynson, who grew up in the area. "Before they didn't have anything like this. The city is going in the right direction and we 'ferkin' love it."