Senior Scene

Dining at Café Girasole

Ron Walker

Ron Walker


Located just a stone’s throw from Sharkey’s Casino in Gardnerville, is a culinary delight. Orllyene and I discovered it after one of our ubiquitous safaris to Gardnerville-Minden. I was desperate for a new dining experience and I found it.

Abby Bryce is the owner, and I had a terrible time trying to speak with her. She is a “working” owner and she spends her time in the “prep area” of the café. She did drop by our table twice to say hello, but there was no time to talk. She was needed elsewhere.

The menu is written on a space of the wall; sandwiches, salads, soups and so forth. Marlo, (Abby’s waitress) came to our table, welcomed us effusively and we made our selection. It was such a successful visit, that we came three more times and on each visit, I ordered the same item because it was so delicious. One time they were out of ham, so they substituted beef and it was just as good. The next time we went, our granddaughter, Jenelle joined us. She was equally impressed and we enjoyed a good “catch up conversation. Jenelle even treated us to lunch.

It was imperative that I get in touch with the owner. The difficulty was that I wanted to have a relaxed, informal chat with Abby and the only opportunity was when guests were being served. Lunch time there is like being at the center of the universe; food being prepared, orders being taken, checks being paid and all this being done by a staff of five. This was not the right time to gather and ponder information.

On a separate visit, in an effort to reach Abby, I gave Marlo a slip of paper with my email address and a request for a few bits of information. Here is her reply. “I’m not great at promoting myself, so this is hard for me. I’ve had the café since 2012. I worked for the previous owner and when she closed, I bought the name and the menu, made a few changes and reopened. There are five of us working Monday-Friday, 11to2-ish). April and I do the prep work. We’re very much like a family and I look forward to coming to work,” she says.

Each time I’ve eaten at “Café Girasole,” I’ve been more taken by its uniqueness. A hum of activity is going on around me, takeout orders disappear out the door continuously, and yet each patron is involved in conversation and oblivious to everyone around them. No one is texting, or talking on their cell phone and there are no solemn silences happening between people. The hub-ub is an energy source and the delicious food being partaken is a sensual satisfaction. Bottom line-everyone is enjoying themselves.

Abby says she has always had a passion for food and even has taken culinary classes at Douglas High. She decorated cakes for a few years, did flowers and finally became the owner of Café Girasole and we are the happy recipients of her journey. Bon appetite.

Ron Walker can be reached at


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