If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
I (Anthony Crosby) love talking with my Elko area neighbors every week and sharing their stories on AAT; however, in my spare time, there’s nothing I love more than sitting down with a big bowl of popcorn and watching restaurant-based reality shows. You know, the ones where an eating establishment is rat infested and falling apart, and they must send in a cursing chef from the UK to fix it up; it’s entertainment gold! Therefore, I was excited when I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the owners of the local Italian restaurant, Luciano’s, Erin Gerber, for today’s feature. I wanted to get the sense of what it was like to truly run a high-end eating establishment. Is it as difficult as it seems on TV? Before we get into that, let’s allow Erin to share a little bit about herself! “I own the restaurant along with my husband Luc Gerber. I have been in the restaurant business for a little over twenty years. I grew up in California, a little town outside of Reno called Portola. I moved to San Francisco to attend college and worked in the restaurant business because it was flexible with the hours and good money; that’s how I met my husband as he was working in a restaurant as a chef. We met and decided to do our own thing! My parents had discovered Elko a while ago as they were looking for a small town, and we wanted a small town to raise our kids and thought it would be a lot easier to start a business in a small town. We had a small restaurant here called the 5th St. Bistro, but our journey took us back to California only for us to move back to Elko to open Luciano’s. There was something about Elko and its community that was just too appealing. The location we’re in now used to be the Nevada Dinner House, a Basque restaurant and was ready to go when we were looking for a place. Even though Luc was born in and went to culinary school in France, we decided to make it Italian! Eight years later, here we are!”
From San Francisco to little old Elko; that’s quite the transition! What do you love about running a restaurant in our town; can it be challenging to do? “For one, the people. I love people; I love interacting with people, waiting on people, and talking with all our regulars. It’s just what I know and what I love, and I just love the business. Yes, it can be challenging. I think it’s harder than people think. You’re trying to hit a bunch of taste pallets; you want your food to be appealing to everybody, but you also want to cook the way you want to cook. Getting product in can also be a challenge because we want to keep things as fresh as we can but sometimes what we want isn’t always available.”
Thank you for dishing up some insight, Erin. Is there anything else you’d like to share while you have the spotlight in this Small Business Friday feature? “I’d like people to know that we really are for Elko; we completely enjoy living here. The people we’ve met are amazing. We try to help other organizations, by donating as much as we can to the community. People can come to talk to us about donations, and they can know that we’d love to. It makes us feel great to be a part of that kind of community; I don’t know if you can find that in other, bigger cities. We’re trying to introduce more local food in our menu. For example, during the Summer, we get a lot of produce from a farm just out in Spring Creek, and last year we bought a whole cow from a rancher out in Star Valley. We’re trying to integrate ourselves into the community with these great people who are also just trying to make a living. Furthermore, by doing this we can offer people fresh/healthy food, like an organic/antibiotic and hormone free chicken that was wondering around a property in Lamoille not too long ago! We want to offer the people who come through our doors the freshest food that we possibly can and the most local food we possibly can. It’s just a way for us to differentiate ourselves and let our customers know that we care about what they’re eating. We aim to please; we try our best and are always working to make things better! Our mission statement is, we want you to leave Luciano’s a little bit happier than when you came in!”
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around a local business, Elko!