Pneumatic Diner

Reno, Nevada


rating star

Delicious Juice. But they were out of potatoes (right after opening).. which limited my gluten-free and vegan options. Had the tacos. They were really so-so. Wasn't into their homemade "cheese". I left feeling kind of sad that I paid that much for the food I got.

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The goodness of the food varies depending on what you order, as it does with every restaurant - it's really a hit or miss, but when it tastes good, it tastes REALLY good; this problem diminishes the more you visit as you discover which meals you like and which to avoid. I recommend the pasta with red sauce and garlic bread with vegan butter. The amount of food you receive also varies, and not just slightly - I have been served way too much to eat in one sitting (not a bad thing at all!) or way too little for the price. I love how they serve their cola in cute jars, and that they serve their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and salsa. Their ice cream and brownies are delicious, and so far Pneumatic has been the only restaurant I've come across that offers vegan deserts.

The atmosphere is nice, it's just slightly cramped but not enough to be a bother once you get seated. The smell is lovely and the decorations are so interesting that the short wait for your food goes by even faster while you admire the eccentric art, the walls and ceiling are literally covered in it, and they change all the time. The music is always so good and just loud enough - it's just a cozy, great place to hang out. Long after finishing a meal it remains a good environment to chill and talk (if it's not busy).

My experiences with the staff have all been good, they may not be too overzealous in comparison to most waiters/waitresses in other restaurants but they have never been rude and I don't mind their casual attitude, though friends of mine have occasionally described them as pretentious or too laid back.

Their few cons (difficult to find, cramped, employees that can be too casual) are completely overshadowed by their delicious food and they don't take away from the fact that's it's just a fun place to be.

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This place is hard to find. The street address is on a main street, but there is no sign there that indicates a place to eat. You have to go in and ask, then walk through a creepy hotel, down the halls past room doors to get there. The main intrance is on a side street.
The place had very clean tables and dishes, but the chairs were very dirty. We were seated right next to a window that had a very dirty sill. Ugh, not what you want to look at while you eat.
The food looked and smelled great, but our mexican dish had so much spicy hotness to it that we could not taste anything except HOT, and were not able to finish the dish. I guess we chose the wrong dish, but I eat mexican food all of the time, and there was no indication on the menu that this dish was very spicy hot.
Since there were only 2 people working, and several customers, we had to wait a long time for our food. Our waiter was very polite.

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We should consider ourselves lucky to have a place like the Pnuematic Diner. It's as much about the atmosphere as it is the food. Both are great. The staff is friendly. I appreciate the last place with character in town.

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I liked the food at Pneumatic Diner in the past and was happy some friends were finally going to try it this past Saturday afternoon. It turned out, people were seated AFTER they were seated, served, finished eating and paid their bill before my friends even got their 1st drink.
The service was terrible, which put a damper on the excitement they had, finally going there.

The food was fair, the service was terrible considering how small the place is.
Would like to see more vegetarian places around Reno.

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I was in Reno for a conference in November 2008 and the Pneumatic Diner was one of the top prospects from a google search of local veggie restaurants. I went on a Monday night with few expectations (I mean, it's Reno, home of the all-you-can eat fill in the blank with a side of slot machines) and my experience was good, if not great.

First, I was impressed that Reno had *any* vegetarian restaurants, much less one with lots of vegan options. The effort is important to me, and I try to support such businesses when traveling. The menu was fairly large and eclectic, with lots of dishes that could best be described as the PD's own take on some more classic fare. I had a falafel sandwich, a local beer and a vegan cookie. The falafel was entirely unexceptional (probably from a bulk mix and undercooked) but not horrible -- I consider myself somewhat a falafel snob so maybe my expectations for this little hipster hole in the wall diner were not realistic. The beer was also fine, but the cookie was probably the highlight. There was quite a selection of vegan desserts.

The atmosphere was pleasant, if a little dark, and the staff were quite friendly, with none of the surly ineptitude that one finds in so many indy kid diners. The patronage was mixed, with some of the usual suspects but also a group of two older couples and a college-age girl with her parents.

Overall I enjoyed my meal and I would certainly go to the Pneumatic Diner again to sample more of their menu if I am ever in Reno. That said, I would probably go there for dinner and hit the rather excellent (though not exclusively vegetarian) Dandelion Deli for lunch.

rating star

the pneumatic diner may not be the most inviting environment, but that being said, man up and stop being such a wuss. if you're a vegetarian/vegan and like to be fed food of this category it is, hands down, the best (and i ain't just saying that because it's the only veggie restaurant in town). the food is made in the down-stairs kitchen by it's own awesome employees (very well, i might add) who, by the way, taught themselves. that's saying something. resourceful people who want to make vegetarian options for their could you not only respect that, but not give 'em some damn support? if you wanna be pampered like a baby go to the outback a-hole! but if you wanna act and eat like an adult, go to the pneumatic diner.
p.s. rob scallion is an idiot not worthy of this town. please leave.

rating star

The food quality ranges anywhere from fair to great. The falafel is not authentic, but it IS tasty. The pies are delicious. I have to disagree with calling this place a "greasy-spoon" cafe; I have never seen anything greasy here. It's quite healthy food and I'll bet that most of it is not cooked in fat. I'm guessing the PD frowns on salt, since I have to ask for a salt shaker whenever I eat there. I've always found the portions to be a good size. Ingredients always seem very fresh -- no wilted lettuce or anything like that. At its worst, the food can be bland; it depends on what you order. At its best, it's unusual and delicious.

I really enjoy the menu; the PD lets you mix and match any ingredients you want, but this is the one restaurant where I rarely feel the need to make substitutions. There are a lot of menu items that you won't find anywhere else, which is refreshing.

The atmosphere is fun and rather self-consciously artsy. Neon lights, the occasional nude painting, loudish alternative music playing, etc. Servers are generally friendly, but occasionally you do get one who seems to feel hip and superior. I've never found the servers to be particularly attentive, but most are nice.

The PD does sort of judge you if you want to eat meat (which they do offer), order your food to go, eat quietly by yourself without socializing, etc. If you're not planning to do any of those things, I highly recommend this restaurant. It's a great and unique resource for vegans, vegetarians and anybody else who wants something different.

rating star

Pneumatic is just a hop skip and a jump to a very pretty little park. It's nice to have somewhere to walk after eating lunch. It's a little hard to find the first time (easy to miss), but worth the effort. Service is pretty good, and the atmosphere is friendly and fun.
While I would give the food just a good rating (my favorite is the hummusy pita thing), the desserts get an excellent so it averages out. (and oh, the menu is funny - it has a lot of personality) I'm a vegan and good desserts are hard to find - and they make the best cupcakes I've EVER had (including non-vegan ones.)
Plus, it's nice to support the only (that I know of) all-veg restaurant in Reno. No worries of meaty-contamination here :)

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I have been a vegetarian for some years now. I came to this city, Reno, from a larger Amerikan city with lots of veggie cafes and vegetarian restaurants, so when I found out that Reno only had one vegetarian place - this one - the Pneumatic Diner - I started to go there at least once per month.

I actually got to meet one of the owners, Bo, or however one spelled his name, before he passed away. I found out he was involved with the liberal Reno Indymedia site - is it still up? I do believe pathetic dead things can also resurrect themselves.

Compared to the Deux Gros Nez, the other hipster, half-veggie cafe (now thankfully closed) the Pneu was a much better choice. The DGN was notorious for lousy service, really small portions, badly cooked food with steep prices, and a staff (especially some of the waitress staff) - including the owner (I won't mention any names) that just didn't care what the customers thought of them - and acted accordingly. I went there only a few times, but every time I was there, there was always some incident that took place in front of everyone. Whether it was a row between the customer and the staff, or a customer complaining about their food, either the order was wrong, or the food was badly cooked. I should say that there were a few waitresses who really cared about their work and the food (no names) - but most did not. If any place deserved to close, this was the place. For Reno vegetarians (and I think that I speak for lots of them) - good riddance.

Unfortunately, the Pneu is heading in the same direction as the DGN. First, I will say the the old cooking staff that has cooked at the Pneu for many years are good cooks (no names). I have tried their other portions (not on the menu) but the owners refuse to change the menu after so many years, so the cooking staff are tired of cooking up the same things year after year. It could drive any cook nuts.

The owners have also hire some kitchen aides to help out the old cooks. some of these kitchen aides-cooks do not know what they are doing. I imagine that these characters are hipster punk travelers passing through and need some quick cash.

The old cooks are good, but some of the new wait staff that the new owners hired (about a year and a half ago) are rude and mean. Unfortunately, they hired some local kids (and these people are kids, American white skin privilege clean and shower punks with black clothes, 22 years old going on 15) who all live in the same SW house and listen to the same hardcore kid music collection. They are not good wait staff, and they treat the customers with a standoffish and obnoxious attitude. If I am paying for a microwave nuked pasta dish for 10$ (including the tip) you had better be nice to me.

The bozos running Reno are trying to make this trailer trash town into a hipster hole with money (can one believe this?) so I see more of these 'new business owners' hiring these same kiddies in certain local cafes and new hipster-expensive joints opening up around town.

With drinks, I have had these kids pour beers - and have seen them spill them on the food counters. How can one mess up the pouring of a beer? With the food portions, one has to know the deal about the Pneu. The Pneu has been doing the exact same decor, food portion and preparation for the last - how many years now? So, if one wants a decent portion, one has to know what to order.

First, every food item - no matter what it is (except the beer and the wine) is nuked in their two microwaves. Don't worry they don't over or under cook the dishes - again, the Pneu has changed nothing over the years, so the cooks are expert in clicking the right times for each portion. One must not go to their pancake breakfasts. The portions are small and the pancakes can be quite hard. For a greasy spoon to mess up pancakes that is quite bad.

The best time to go to the Pneu is not a weekend night because small cliques of Reno hickster kids, old weirdos, and Amerikan class climber gaz-guzzler types fill up the tables. The best times are lunches and weeknights. If one wants a nuked meal worth the money, one should get the pasta dish, lasagna, or one should get the full on sandwiches. The rice 'bullard...' or whatever one calls it' is decent.

Remember, the Pneu is simply a greasy spoon with the veggie twist, so don't expect the ultimate in fine dining with different plates. One plate fits all there - and they mean it. The Mediterranean humus plate is large - but it is not good. The falafels are some times hard like rocks and some times they are cold (even after a decent wave nuking). The prices are not cheap. I, and friends of mine, have come out there still hungry after tasting a full on meal. Not every patron is a slim fast eater. The danger with trying some thing different at the Pneu is the patron might get something tasty but really small. Stay away from the drinks because they will really charge you on those. A meal with water will cost you 8-12$ - with drinks almost double that. Like I said before, the Pneu is becoming DGN II.

As for me, I cook myself, and there is now a food coop in town (with nice people who work there) that has fresh and in season veggies and other vegetarian pre-prepared items. I definitely recommend that place. So, I don't frequent the Pneu anymore. But what I can't stomach is rudeness by Green Day punk lite wait staff-kids who ought not to be anywhere near a decent restaurant establishment.

rating star

I totally disagree with the 2nd reviewer. The portions for most meals are so large that I have to take leftovers home- especially the calzone. Also, as far as quality of food, Pneumatic far surpasses Deux Gros Nez. The last time I ate at DGN I ordered pasta with pesto and was served a plate of plain spagetti b/c they were out of pesto- not okay. Also, the chairs aren't so bad- they have backs and a place to rest your feet.

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Great, inviting atmosphere and hip art made a great dining environment for myself and my wife, both vegan. The menu was confusing at first, then very humourous, being very eclectic. Our food was okay - not spectacular, but good. A bit of a let down from our expectations I think.

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