August 27, 2014
A Reno landmark for nearly half a century - the Liberty Belle restaurant - plans to close forever, perhaps as early as this spring.
The restaurant adjacent to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center
faces huge restoration costs to upgrade electricity and plumbing.
General Manager Jeff Fey said it would be cheaper to raze the
building and start all over.
Brothers Marshall and Frank Fey opened the Liberty Belle in
1958. They are the grandsons of Charles Fey, who invented the first
three-wheeled slot machine for whom the restaurant is named.
The family has collected 200 antique slot machines, some of
which are on display inside the restaurant.
While the owners are looking at closing between March and June,
they say a scaled down Liberty Belle is a possibility.
The Feys weathered an attempt by the Reno-Sparks Convention &
Visitors Authority to move the building. About 150 residents
protested at a Dec. 5, 2002, meeting and more than 1,000 people
signed a petition against the plan to purchase the building through
eminent domain. The RSCVA offered the owners $1 million.