An interview with Nicholle Alumbaugh, Chef & Owner
What made you decide to get into the business of food/drink?
Homage was founded in December of 2011 as a boutique bakery and coffeehouse. At the time, Reno did not have an establishment that offered high quality coffee and baked goods. In our opinion, you can’t have one without the other! We knew there was a niche in the market that could be filled by putting the expertise and knowledge of our chef & owner, Nicholle Alumbaugh, to work.
Having begun working in the industry at the mere age of thirteen where her first job consisted of many duties (scooping ice cream & making espresso drinks, breakfast waitress, lunch prep cook, dinner hostess, bar back…yes, she changed her first keg at thirteen!…and booking cabin reservations all in one summer) she learned many skills and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge at a very young age. Finding a passion in the industry at a young age, she continued to work in the industry over the course of the next thirteen years before opening Homage in both Front of House and Back of House operations, holding titles of Event Coordinator, Banquet Manager, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager, Lead Baker, Sauté Line Cook, and Sous Chef working in fine dining establishments in Alaska, Reno and the Tahoe area. She also went to UNR and UNLV majoring in Music Performance and performing as a professional musician in both the Reno/Tahoe area and Las Vegas. When the opportunity presented itself to open Homage in 2011, Nicholle knew this was a chance to work in an industry she loved and continue to make a career out of her passion.
At Homage, our chef-owner puts her expertise to work by using classic pastry as a platform for experimenting with flavor combinations and applying modern techniques, reviving what was old and making anew, and providing a space to pay homage to friends and family recipes and to evoke our guests’ favorite food memories they share with their friends and family.
Homage is known for its skillful, creative and unique menu offerings, including a variety of viennoiserie, cookies, muffins, scones, desserts, breakfast, lunch, a varied and innovative beverage menu, and more.
Over the years, an unwavering commitment to quality in all aspects of the company have allowed Homage to grow to what it is today, now known as Homage, coffee. kitchen. bakery.
I was planning on moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2011 to take a Sous Chef position. However, I was approached by a friend from High School about making her wedding cake in September of that year. The Cake & Flower Shoppe (a long standing business of almost 30 years) was closing, and I visited to see if they had equipment and tools I needed to make my friend’s wedding cake. Low and behold, I found myself leasing the property a month later, and opened Homage a few months later in December of 2011. I grew up in Tahoe, and later spent the last year of Highschool and first year of College in Reno (UNR). I consider Reno as much “home” as Tahoe. I was extremely fortunate to have to many pieces fall in place at the same time….the timing was right, the costs were right, and the location was right, not to mention I had two key people (my parents) that had a tremendous amount of business and financial knowledge that helped me to navigate becoming a business owner, and are due much of the success that Homage is today (we’re in year nine!).
Why are you excited for Reno Restaurant Week?
I am always excited to join our fellow restaurants, owners, chefs and industry workers in coming together to support one another. Running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. Often times we are all so busy running our own places, that we don’t get the opportunity to directly support one another as much as we would like. Events that focus on supporting the restaurant industry in our town are huge…there are a ton of talented individuals and amazing restaurants doing fantastic things, and unfortunately a lot of it flies under the radar or goes unacknowledged. Events like Reno Restaurant Week help to refocus the attention back to our local establishments allowing guests to rediscover their favorite places, and also brings light to new places that they may not know about. We are also excited to see that proceeds are going back into our community!
What is one thing you’d like your guests to know about you and/or your establishment?
We offer lunch! Some love us as a coffee shop, some love us as a bakery and some love us as their favorite lunch spot. We want our guests to know they can start their day with a cup of coffee and a pastry, come back for some fresh and delicious lunch, and take home dessert for the evening.
How are you complying with safety guidelines for COVID-19?
All staff have their temperature and oxygen taken at the beginning of their shifts in addition to answering a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire. This is also re-checked throughout their shifts.
- All staff must wear a mask and gloves at all times.
- For the safety of our staff and all of our guests we are asking that guests experiencing any symptoms of sickness not patronize our business at this time. They are also asked to wear masks inside, and only have (2) guests per party inside to order (they are permitted up to 5 total per party outside).
- We are allowing outside seating for the time being.
- We are only accepting contactless payment (credit or tap payments). We are not accepting cash.
2020 RRW Menu