A&W’s latest opening — in the small historic Wild West town of Tonopah, Nevada, inside the Mizpah Club Casino — is part of the brand’s plan to expand into smaller markets around the country.
The 50-seat restaurant utilizes A&W’s latest “hip nostalgic” orange and brown design and includes localized design elements including a 1913 panoramic town photo and a historic hotel key collection that had been a fixture in the cafe that previously occupied the space.
Tonopah, midway between Reno and Las Vegas near the junction of U.S. Routes 6 and 95, is part of Nevada’s Silver Trail, a popular tourist route showcasing the state’s mining history. It is also near Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest. “This restaurant is a perfect example of our strategy to expand into smaller markets around the country,” says Dave Crowley, A&W director of Franchise Recruitment. “The most successful A&Ws are more than places to eat, they’re a part of their communities, owned and run by franchisees who have a real connection to the brand and to their guests.”
Franchisee owner Ramsey Cline noted the longevity of both the town and the restaurant chain. “A&W is over 100 years old. It is authentic to the timeframe of an old Western town,” he says. “There could have been an A&W in Tonopah during its heyday.”
Cline, whose great-great uncle Harry Ramsey prospected for silver in Tonopah, grew up loving A&W. He fondly recalls frequent stops at the A&W in San Rafael, California, after high school sporting events.
Cline’s mother Nancy, who researched the family’s genealogy and discovered its Tonopah history, purchased the 1907 Mizpah Hotel along with her husband, Fred Cline. In 2011 they reopened the renovated five-story, Victorian-era hotel that at one time had been the tallest building with one of the first electric elevators in Nevada. The casino and new A&W are adjacent to the family-owned hotel.
Known for Root Beer that is made fresh in each restaurant and served in frosty mugs, there are more than 900 A&Ws in the U.S. and Asia.