Reno chef Mark Estee talks about Overland plans |

Reno chef Mark Estee talks about Overland plans

Chef Mark Estee spent his first week talking to customers of the Overland to find out what they like.

“In my opinion, it’s a cool spot as is,” he told The Record-Courier on Saturday. “The design is beautiful. It’s got a great, warm feel in there and the customers enjoy the vibe.”

Estee said that there’s some work he wants to do on the menu to improve the focus and bring more local food producers into the mix.

“If you look at the history there, they have a lot of lamb and a lot of beef,” he said. “They’ve gone through a few chefs, and sometimes what happens is that each person left a little bit on the menu. I want to liven up and tighten up the menu, bring some excitement to it.”

Estee said he will work on the menu to make it easier for customers to find what they want.

“We don’t want to take everything off, but if I was a betting man, I would say we will have all the things by no later than Nov. 1,” he said.

Estee said he appreciated the opportunity to work in Gardnerville.

“David Park called me six weeks ago and we had a half-hour conversation,” he said. “We made a great deal, everyone was happy and now we’re off to the races.”

He had a chance to explore Gardnerville last week after working late on Friday night at the restaurant.

“That area is really cool,” he said. “We stayed at the Carson Valley Inn. We went to the French and Nevada Ugly, and visited JT Basque, I love that place.”

He said this week they’ll start bringing down some of the things they make at Liberty in Reno and will work on the desserts.

“We spent a lot of time talking to customers,” he said. “We’re pretty good listeners, which I think makes a pretty good business sense.”

Estee said that like the Union in Carson City, he saw the Overland as a long-term project.

Estee and partners Nick Meyer and Tommy Linnett took charge of the restaurant on Oct. 1 from the Parks, according to David Park.

The family continues to own the historic building, first constructed as a butcher shop in 1910. It served as a Basque hotel for decades before being purchased by the Parks in 2014.

The restaurant was renovated and expanded in adjoining shops, reopening in 2015 with a new menu.