Chupacabra in Reno

After years of snickering, I finally came face to face this week with a real meal of Chupacabra, the hideous (and legendary) vampiric beast alleged to be living in the Americas, sucking blood from livestock, predominantly goats. Judging by what I ate, this one preyed on poultry too.

Who knew something so awful could taste so good? And in Reno, of all places? A few posts back I told you about my new resolve to travel, tasting unique pizza wherever I go. Chupacabra Pizza is definitely unique. And tasty.

Chupacabra Pizza. Garlic cream sauce, chevre, chicken, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese, and parsley, “drizzled with local honey”.

I hadn’t expected to spend time let alone eat in Reno this trip but I’ve become a bit of an evangelist for Shark self-emptying smart vacuums. After I dazzled my friend Anne with stories of my dirt and hair-sucking Baby Shark, we drove down to Reno so she could buy one. I should get a commission.

Anne behind the wheel, we set off for our adventure in Reno.

Wise women that we are, we knew to eat lunch before hitting Costco. We used to make weekly trips to Modesto, driving over an hour each way to shop Costco, toddlers in tow. It was our thing.

Yesterday for old times sake we decided to eat Mexican food – one of our favorites. Big mistake. We covered a lot of ground looking for a place with a decent Trip Advisor ranking. The first restaurant we chose was closed for lack of staff. We never did find the second, located downtown. Things have changed in downtown Reno since my last visit.

When I was little my parents used to drive us through on our way to visit relatives in Colorado. We gawked at the inebriated people on the sidewalks lurching from casino to casino, clutching watered-down, free mixed drinks. Our heads swiveled from side to side, eyes wide, to catch a glimpse of the sin Mom said was lurking inside.

New signs beckon in downtown Reno these days.

But the lights, those colorful twinkling orbs, how they enchanted us. They are what I remember most. There were millions of them. Western boots, arrows pointing to doors. Upside down horseshoes for luck. Some, like the Reno arch, still remain, but they’re not so enticing anymore. No, what drew my eyes yesterday were different signs (like the one advertising adult libido) and empty sidewalks. On a Thursday afternoon in the midst of a newly-energized pandemic, downtown Reno was a ghost town.

Discouraged, we decided to forego Mexican food and turned south on Hwy 395 again, headed for The Great Basin Brewing Company (TGBBC). The TGBBC is a typical rustic brew pub with lots of tin, high, lofty ceilings, cement floors, and huge windows that look in on large tanks filled with libations, not libido (as far as I could see).

It was almost two o’clock when we got there so it wasn’t crowded. It was loud anyway, as most brew pubs are. I almost ordered a hamburger before I remembered my blog about travel and pizza and my resolve to try new and unusual pizzas. There it was: The Chupacabra.

I couldn’t not order it. Even if goat cheese isn’t my favorite. After a few bites I hardly noticed. Crisp crust. Check. Garlicky sauce that married perfectly with caramelized onions. Another check. Roasted chicken and parsley, salty bursts of goat cheese, and from time to time, the sweetness of honey. Check, check, check!

It’s amusing that pizza named after a creature so repulsive would taste so good. How good was it? Let’s just say I had no trouble passing up samples at Costco afterward.

Chupacabra Pizza works. I give it an A-, not only because it was that good, but also for TGBBC’s sense of humor and casual (though noisy) ambiance. It fell short of perfection only on personal preference because even though it was mild, chevre is not high on my list.

No longer snickering, I’d definitely order it again. And I can hardly wait for my next trip and the pizza (or pizzas) I’ll meet there.


  1. Oh, my friend, you are lucky that I was in a class all day yesterday! Otherwise I would give you an earful for not calling me! I will have to check out the pizza though. Hopefully their Sparks site will have it, as that is where we often end up. I love their beer cheese soup and a pretzel, chased with a Bitchin Berry beer😋. Safe travels.


    1. I thought I’d responded to this one, Belinda! When things calm down again for both of us, I’d love to come back over for a visit! And would happily go back for beer cheese soup and a Bitchin Berry beer! Hugs!


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