Last call for Adele’s in Carson City |

Last call for Adele’s in Carson City

by Anita Kornoff

A beautiful piece of Carson City history may soon be — history. The former Adele’s restaurant, that popular upscale eatery that graced North Carson Street since 1977, could soon be razed to enlarge the gas station next door. The Victorian building with the area’s first mansard roof and dormer windows dates back to 1874. It is also known as the “Frank Murphy House” after the general manager of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad who once lived there. It later became Porter’s Antiques, then the Music Box, and finally Adele’s restaurant in the late 1970s. Karen Abowd and her husband, chef Charlie Abowd, owned and operated the restaurant for about the last 25 years. Charlie Abowd’s parents opened the place in 1978, naming it for his late mother, Adele Abowd.

It was filled with antique furniture, lace curtains, heavy drapes and colorful carpet indicative of the period. The owners had run it as a fine eatery always with carefully thought out dishes created by the best chefs. It was also famous for its dark cozy bar in the front reminiscent of days gone by. About 15 years ago when the public’s appetite for heavy fabrics in formal vintage settings with equally heavy menus began to dwindle, the owners set out to revamp it. They lightened and brightened up the décor while still maintaining a nod to its history and added an updated menu, served weekday breakfasts, smaller portions and offered some price reductions. For example. the standard “carb-loaded pea, cheese, and mayo salad” although still available, was no longer a every part every meal.

Like I, you’ve probably been following the more recent events of Adele’s Restaurant’s presence in the Valley. A couple of years ago the owners put the restaurant and bar on the market complete with, according to the staff, “the people who worked there” in the hopes it could continue on as Adele’s. Although I’m quite sure you cannot “sell” your wait staff members, we got the idea of what they had in mind. The thought of losing this beloved landmark establishment spurred renewed interest in Adele’s and business actually picked up. Beignet Wednesdays, special holiday dinners and doggie-friendly brunches on the patio all helped to add excitement and it became a good idea to make reservations even for weekday lunches. Yet still, no buyers stepped up to take over.

Unfortunately, Adele’s closed last March after a fire in the laundry area. The owners were unable to reach an agreement with their insurance provider to cover the $1.5 million needed to rehabilitate it. Recently, the Planning Commission approved a special use permit to let the Chevron gas station and ExtraMile convenience store next door expand into the property, which would require tearing down the historic building. At the meeting, Frank Lepori, owner, Frank Lepori Construction Inc., the contractor on the project, agreed to make the building available at “no-cost” to anyone who wanted to take responsibility for moving it to another location.

The Carson City Historical Society got involved and folks are scrambling to save this century-and-a-half-old landmark. But the deadline to raise an estimated $100,000 and physically move it is just a few weeks away. So, if you want to help preserve Adele’s, the clock is ticking. If funds aren’t raised to move the original part of the building by March 1, this beautiful structure will be history.

Are you upset with great historic buildings going away for parking lots? As of this writing, over $5,000 has already been donated to save Adele’s. Please add your contribution, however small and urge your friends to contribute, too. Please help make sure Adele’s 146-year history doesn’t come to a tragic end. Here’s the link for Carson City Historical Society’s GoFundMe fundraiser to save the building:

Or mail checks to Carson City Historical Society, 112 N. Curry St., Carson City NV 89703, marked: “Save Adele’s.”

For more on the history of Adele’s and other Second Empire-style houses in Carson City please contact of Clairitage Press.

Contact Anita Kornoff at