Gardnerville Ranchos residents with an appetite have a new place in the neighborhood to catch breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Longtime residents Jennifer and Daniel Fredrickson have opened up the Grill Next Door off Langley Drive.
"We like to keep our food out of the freezer and the microwave, and we know that the community is in an economic crunch, so we wanted to be able to offer fresh food at a good price," the couple said.
Jennifer, 37, and Daniel, 35, both attended Douglas High School. Dan graduated in 1996, and Jen in 1993.
"She doesn't remember me, but I remember her," Dan said. "We had a lot of mutual friends."
In 1999, the two officially met and started dating. They later moved to San Diego to attend college, returning briefly to get married at the Corley Ranch, and had their first child in California. Eventually Dan earned a degree in culinary arts, and Jennifer a degree in child development. Together they dreamed of opening a restaurant, but they wanted to come home first.
"We both have roots here. We grew up here. It was just the plan the whole time," Dan said.
For the last five years, Dan has worked as sous chef for Microsoft Inc. in Reno, but he recently decided to work full-time at the restaurant, which opened on Jan. 21. Jen is still bartending at the Moose & Squirrel, which they call "the bar next door."
From the beginning, the Fredricksons envisioned a mom-and-pop operation, and, literally, that's what the restaurant has become. Besides the couple working themselves, Dan's sister and mother help out with customers, and longtime friend Mike McQuain helps out in the kitchen.
Their two children, Mason, 6, and Cassie, 4, like the new business as well.
"They think they own the place," Jen said. "And grandma makes the best carrot cake in town. Everyone raves about it."
The children love the eatery, but how has the greater community responded? According to the Fredricksons, the reception has been fairly good.
"We've had mostly good days," Dan said, " and I see a lot of new faces."
"We also have a lot of regulars already, which is nice," added Jen.
The restaurant offers breakfast, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, dinner entrees and desserts.
"We have a chalkboard menu wall, which will always have items that are revolving throughout the day," the Fredricksons said. "This keeps the chef's creativity flowing and the ingredients fresh and seasonal. Plus, there will always be something new to eat, so you never get bored of the same old menu."
This kind of flexibility is important in a neighborhood cafe, they said.
"Just because you don't see it, that doesn't mean you can't get it," they said. "It never hurts to ask. If they have the stuff to make it for you, they will."
Favorites so far include the pulled-pork sliders and, not surprisingly, the burgers. The Hangover Burger consists of a fried egg, American cheese, bacon, and syrup. The family's also proud of their homemade poppers - fresh jalapenos stuffed with cheese and wrapped with bacon.
To promote community interaction, the Fredricksons are incorporating a monthly food challenge that may include monstrous portions, super spicy items or bizarre foods. Winners will get their name and picture on a wall of fame. They're also hosting coloring contests for kids, not to mention several family meal deals.
"Nothing really beats the people here," Jen said.
The Grill Next Door is located at 1302 Langley Drive, Suite 3, in the Gardnerville Ranchos. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Call 265-8841 for more information.