Gerlach-Bruno's For Sale!!

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Cpt. Ron, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

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    This can't be a good sign for the area. From here:
    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/24/5369054/brunos-country-club-for-sale-in.html


    Bruno's Country Club for sale in Gerlach
    Reno-Gazette Journal
    Published Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013

    GERLACH, Nev. -- Bruno Selmi walked out of the kitchen at Bruno's Country Club with flour sprinkled across his dark blue slacks. It's Friday in early April, and he's managing 14 people in the kitchen hand-making his "world famous" raviolis.

    His jean shirt is tucked in and it has the "Bruno's" logo above the right pocket. In case you don't know who he is, "Bruno" spelled in plain regular letters is stitched on the left.

    The 89-year-old is a legend around these parts and has been since he fulfilled his American dream by owning the property about 120 miles north of Reno since 1952.

    He's known for his giving heart, and he's also been known to jump over the bar, take you by the back of your shirt and throw you out the door if you're being disrespectful.

    Not one of the 90 residents in town or the thousands that stop and visit before and after Burning Man, know him by his last name. It's simply just "Bruno," and the name goes a long way in Northern Nevada.

    Bruno's life has revolved around Bruno's Country Club for 60 years and now it is up for sale. The hotel, casino, bar, banquet room, motel and all.

    Since the gypsum plant closed in nearby Empire a few years back, the town's population and Bruno's customer base has been cut drastically. Bruno said he is ready to let go of the property and is perfectly fine with living on his ranch for the rest of his life.

    Realtor Tom Corty, who's sold property in Gerlach for 40 years, said buying the establishment is an opportunity of a lifetime.

    "It's an isolated area that has no competition," Corty said. "Burning Man is certainly a positive event. What else can I say? For somebody who wants to be well known in a small town, the opportunity is there to do that and make money at the same time."

    Bruno arrived in the United States from Lucca, Italy, in November 1946.

    He was 23 and didn't speak much English when he showed up as his brother's ranch in Dayton. He knew how to cook, so his brother put him in the kitchen.

    "It wasn't too easy, wasn't too hard," Bruno said, often times not finishing sentences and going on tangents unrelated to the initial question. "My first check was $77. I never got broke since."

    Bruno found a job in Empire at the cement plant where a few fellow Italians were being hired because they didn't need to know a lot of English.

    At night, he would tend bar and deal 21. He met his wife, Frances, who was a singer at the bar. It was there Bruno developed an entrepreneurial spirit.

    He was offered the chance to lease the local bar-casino in Empire, but the opportunity to open his own joint in 1951 in Gerlach looked more prosperous.

    The next year, he bought what would become Bruno's Club for $6,500. He was told that Bruno's Club wasn't a complete name, so he made it Bruno's Country Club because it was out in the country, his daughter Skeekie Courtney said.

    Now, the Country Club has a classic feel to it with dull brown walls and mirrors in the bar. White, shiny walls are in the cafe with old cushy chairs. Memorabilia hangs on the walls, ranging from Burning Man, to desert bighorn sheep to super cars that broke land speed records on the Black Rock Desert.

    "It used to be a little place. Look at it now," Bruno said. "There was nothing in Gerlach."

    The Country Club became a hotspot for ranchers, sheepherders and plant workers on the weekends to chase around the local women.

    If you've been to Gerlach, you know the railroad runs right through town. Courtney said railroaders would stop for the night to party and bring along an entire cart of beer.

    Bruno's wife would work the morning shift, make her husband dinner, then go to bed while Bruno ran the show on Friday and Saturday nights. It was the only place in town to get a drink back in the day, so business was good.

    "At that time, they come here and cash checks," Bruno said, "and before they go home, they spend it all."

    Gerlach residents Bob and Marian Gooch said Bruno's used to be packed with people partying. They said Bruno was proud that he could provide an outlet of entertainment, but he wouldn't let people tread on it, either.

    "He's his own man," Marian Gooch said. "He don't mind telling you that. If he thinks you've been wrong in his establishment, he's ready to have you leave."

    Bruno made sure to take care of the locals and especially the hunters.

    Norm Dianda, founder of Q&D Construction, hunted deer and antelope near Gerlach since he was a teenager in the 1950s. Stopping at Bruno's became a tradition.

    "We'd always stop by and he always treated us so graciously, it was unbelievable," Dianda said. "He's probably one of the hardest workers I've ever met in my life. He's caring. He's a little rough around the edges, but that's the Italian in him."

    Bruno's flourished for more than 30 years because of locals and hunters.

    When Burning Man came about in the mid-1990s, people didn't see the small gathering as a potential new source of business. But Bruno did.

    "At first nobody wanted those hippies with money,'" Courtney said. "Now, look how much money those hippies with money' bring in."

    Marian Goodell, director of business and communications for Burning Man, said she first visited Bruno's in 1992 during a trip to the Black Rock Desert. She stopped first for a glass of iced tea but since has visited countless times for raviolis and cocktails.

    She said the Burning Man community appreciates the Country Club and that it has been "a pretty important backbone to the community."

    "I can't imagine people traveling to Gerlach to enjoy something other than Bruno's," Goodell said. "The town has a lot of character because of the Selmi family. It's an institution."

    Bruno has never been to Burning Man. He's usually too busy in town to see firsthand what goes on out there. The only thing he's knows about Burners is what he sees from behind the bar. He had to post a clothing policy: Everyone must wear underwear and a bra. For about two weeks, the bar goes from cowboy hats to bright fur.

    Corty said 14 people have inquired about the property since its Feb. 1 listing, but no offers have been made. That could be because of the $1.5 million sale price. The question becomes whether the price is too high and if the family really wants to sell it?

    "(Bruno) keeps saying, God is going to provide,'" Courtney said. "We're a town of 90 people, 80 percent are over 60. We have no hunting season. Maybe we'll have something come up. We'll see. Maybe it gets busy and we won't sell. If God wants us to sell, there will be a buyer. If not, there will be business for us. That's all you can think of.

    "(Bruno) has worked all his life for this. This is his home. It'd be sad to see it gone because everyone comes to Bruno's."
    #1
  2. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Wow,hes been out there a long time. And done a bang-up job of running the place. Ive been there during Burning Man and when passing through on a dirtbike trip to and from Idaho.

    Bruno's has always been a great place to stay and eat,his Raviolis are a high point for sure. It IS quiet out there,except for the train passing through real regular night and day.

    Here's hoping the family hangs on to the place,it really is 1 of a kind.
    #2
  3. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    Raviolis and a long neck bud. Hits the spot that's for sure. Bruno is an approacable and personable guy that's for sure. The last time I was out there his health was a concern to every one that worked there.
    I need to make a stop this summer I guess.
    #3
  4. St.Stan

    St.Stan Been here awhile

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    I wasn't aware of the gypsum plant closing. So that means Gerlach's local economy consists of two weeks of Burning Man and fifty weeks of social security checks, hard times indeed. Hope the family is able to keep the doors open.
    #4
  5. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    Hmmmm - a meet and eat?
    #5
  6. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    I'm up for it. Need to work on dates I suppose.
    #6
  7. SierraJeep

    SierraJeep It's toast

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    I wonder how many folks have one (or more) of these photos in their collection?

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    1,100 miles Denver to Gerlach

    Blast a SS to say hi to Berlien then dinner and drinks at Bruno's.

    Let me check the calendar
    #8
  9. blackrockjohn

    blackrockjohn n00b

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    I personally feel that bruno's business did not depend on people from the gypsum plant in empire or from the burners. Ive been going to bruno's for 30 years and he has showed me his hotel registry, he makes most of his money from all of you guys the adventure riders who book rooms,eat raviolis and drink beer. keep on adventuring and best wishes to bruno a wonderful person.
    #9
  10. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    When I have been to Bruno's it has been the hunters filling up the rooms around me. Now if I could only figure out how to trade MC stickers for backstraps. :deal
    #10
  11. Voidrider

    Voidrider Been here awhile

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    I hope they hang in there a while. The last time I was down there was in 2005 meeting Duke Dunsford while he was doing a practice run for the Iron Butt Rally on his Ninja 250. Been wanting to get back down there ever since. Hell, even my nick here relates because riding out on the Playa was, as someone said, "is the closest to riding a bike in The Void as one can get".

    Sounds like I better get back while they are still there!
    #11
  12. scorpion

    scorpion Two arm bandit

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    Putting a run out there on the list :thumb
    #12
  13. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    Bruno's is full up with burners cleaning up the mess from the festival.

    I was thinking about tossing up the tent out on the playa after my ravioli. Any thoughts on a good spot to kick back, sip bourbon and stare at the starry skies?

    thanks

    Dick
    #13
  14. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=Trego+Hot+Springs,+Pershing,+NV&amp;daddr=&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&amp;aq=0&amp;oq=trego+hot&amp;sll=37.195331,-112.346191&amp;sspn=7.139243,14.0625&amp;mra=ls&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;ll=40.770129,-119.11274&amp;spn=0.006295,0.008312&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=Trego+Hot+Springs,+Pershing,+NV&amp;daddr=&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&amp;aq=0&amp;oq=trego+hot&amp;sll=37.195331,-112.346191&amp;sspn=7.139243,14.0625&amp;mra=ls&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;ll=40.770129,-119.11274&amp;spn=0.006295,0.008312" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>
    http://goo.gl/maps/Oub3X
    #14
  15. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    Thanks :clap

    That looks perfect - is there a sign off Jungo road? Also, does anyone know what kind of shape Jungo is in? I would like to finish my trip east on Jungo after I break camp.
    #15
  16. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    No sign, no hordes.

    Hippie hooptie-able.
    #16
  17. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    You can get Bruno's for 650k now.
    #17
  18. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    I'm good with a plate of ravioli - thanks
    #18
  19. Dick

    Dick Its a big old goofy world

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    Bruno's or Bust

    The bike is packed and we are getting more rain than the Okefenokee here in Denver.
    #19
  20. Sandbogg

    Sandbogg Been here awhile

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    We ate Brunos just the other night after riding back from Oregon. The fried chicken was great!

    [​IMG]
    #20