Who knew that  the dive bar  scene and 3 a.m.  hamburgers of  Reno could burgeon into food  culture that is… actually really  good?

While there are still old  favorites, such as Beto’s,  Pneumatic Diner, the Awful  Awful and Golden Flower, there  has been an evolution in the  food culture of “The Biggest  Little City.”

From the Midtown  district (Süp, Midtown Eats,  Great Full Gardens and Bras-  serie Saint James) to the various  local mainstays (Rubicon Deli,  Hi-Point Coffee and Café and  Newman’s Deli) the city has  undergone a rebirth of sorts.

Where college students have  been eating has changed along  with the landscape of the city.  Gaming might have taken a  hit, but the downtown area of  the city has only grown thanks  to its quickly growing variety  of cuisine blending with the  nightlife and culture of the city.

For a city that is trying to  become more “cultured,” food  is a first step. It connects people  across cultures; taste buds know  no cultural bounds, and the city  is taking notice. Although the  transitional phase is noticeable,  when you look at the cleanliness  of downtown Reno, it serves  as a reminder of where the  city needs to go.

Because you  typically never see a cleaned-up  city without good restaurants,  this probably also has to do  with the fact that if you want  people to get out of their houses  and come downtown, provide  them with food, which the city’s  entrepreneurs have been doing.

Midtown and Artown have become intertwined with the city’s  resurgence and emphasis on  cultures that are different from  gaming or the university. Aside  from traditional restaurants,  there are numerous places that  are off the beaten path, so to  speak.

Reno has also become  somewhat of an all-you-can-eat  sushi (AYCE) mecca with Hiroba  and ijji leading the way. While  the city isn’t the only place that  does AYCE, it is a prominent  feature in many parts of town.

This is interesting, especially for  a land-locked desert plateau.  Also, the city has been taking a  cue from other large cities (Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland)  with its food trucks.

Reno offers  a variety of food trucks during  the springtime and summer  with food truck Fridays: Kemji’s  (Korean barbecue), GourMelt  (grilled cheese) and Burger Me!  (hamburgers) are some of the  prime examples of how to do it  right.

The gap between generations  has been noticeable as well. Ten  years ago, if you were going out  with your friends for a late night  meal, the place where you saw  young people eating at night  would have been at a Denny’s or  Fourth Street landmark Gold ‘n  Silver. “Where the cool kids are  eating” is now everywhere and  all the time.

Beyond doing what  is cool, the residents of Reno  seem to be making a conscious  effort to support the local  economy, while also filling their  bellies.  Students need to take notice,  because if there is any place  they can make their mark while  at the University of Nevada,  Reno, it might as well be in the  burgeoning food scene.

The  time to invest is now for the  undergraduates and graduates  at the university, because if you  can take pride in something at  school, why not care about the  food? Plus, it doesn’t hurt to  be on the cutting edge of what  might speak to something larger  than us and is also delicious at  the same time.

The Nevada Sagebrush editorial  staff can be reached at cboline@  sagebrush.unr.edu.