Joe’s Tavern will be opened after closing its doors after 74 years in business on June 24, 2019.
Buck and Cassie Hall, local business owners and Mineral County High School alumni have chosen to open up the iconic bar. Cassie explained that the new motto for Joe’s Tavern will be “Back to the Future”.
“We know what used to work for Hawthorne but over the last decade, things have deteriorated,” she explained. “Community moral has deteriorated along with Main Street. The Hall Family wants to bring awareness to the heart of Hawthorne.”
Knowing that Joe’s Tavern will no longer serve the community as “Joe’s Gym” once had, Cassie wants the community to know that the new Joe’s will be what the customer chooses.
“Joe’s Tavern will be what you want it to be,” she said. “We will have a full menu restaurant, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Kids are welcome until 9 p.m. Besides the restaurant, the bar will also be open with signature drinks and food linked to Mineral County.”
The Early Years
In April of 1945, after managing the El Capitan Casino and Ike’s Place, Guiseppe Joe Viani became the proprietor of Joe’s Tavern situated in the heart of Hawthorne, by purchasing the then Ike’s Place. Here, the elder Joe would advertise choice liquors, dancing and gaming. He would work the bar until his son; Joseph “Joe” Alvise Viani, Jr. took over the establishment.
Fondly known as “Joe’s Gym”, the younger Viani took no guff from those who frequented his establishment, yet the University of Nevada, Reno football player and U.S. Army soldier had a tender heart for children and those in need.
Old timers fondly recall, before radio communication was prominent in cop cars, a light on top of Joe’s Tavern neon sign would be turned on, signaling deputies to check in with dispatch.
Within the walls of his bar, Joe would raise a family of seven with his bride, Hazel Moss; celebrating Christmas Eve family gatherings, weddings and funerals. The memories of laughter and tears within Joe’s Tavern – make it a hollowed place for the Viani family.
As Joe Viani began to age – the time came to sell of the family business and in 2006, the Holder Group acquired the property located at 545 E Street. Gone were the old mining relics that hung on the walls as well as the photos and memories of the glory days.
The building would get a new coat of paint – inside and out. Viani family members and locals would explain that “it just doesn’t feel the same”. The Viani spirit had left when Joe had handed over the keys.
The Holder Group would have the property for nine years before selling to the Cashell family.
Robert Cashell, son of former Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, purchased Joe’s Tavern (and neighboring Monte Carlo) in the fall of 2015. Patrons began to see a change immediately. The bar and casino were cleaned and glammed up. Slot machines took to the dance floor where many had slow danced before. Cashell Enterprises called Joe’s Tavern & Casino, “a shining tribute to Nevada hospitality.” An American Classic, the company stated, “Joe’s [hospitality] remained near and dear to the local community long after his passing. Then Rob Cashell, a Nevada son himself, came along and restored Joe’s back to the glory days with good old fashioned Nevada hospitality to become the “go to” place, once again, in Hawthorne.”
Despite all the efforts from the Cashell family, on June 24, 2019 – Hawthorne residents were stunned to see a notice nailed to the door which read, “Joe’s Tavern & Casino has closed effective June 24, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.” The once heartbeat of Hawthorne would be boarded and locked leaving yet another empty building along Hawthorne’s main thoroughfare.
Breath of Fresh Air
Rumors began to swirl around Hawthorne, as they always do, that Joe’s Tavern had been purchased. In early 2020, confirmation that the Hall Family had purchased both Charlie’s Liquor and Joe’s Tavern had been confirmed.
It wasn’t until a large American flag; painted on the stoplight side of Joe’s Tavern popped up literally overnight that people began to take notice that possible the rumors of the tavern opening, could be true.
In trying to stay with the traditions that Mineral County holds onto, Cassie confirmed with the Independent-News that Joe’s Tavern would be open for business on Thursday, Jan. 30.
To celebrate their opening, the Hall Family reached out to Mauro Viani, the grandson of Joe Viani to help with the “Thursday Night Spaghetti Feeds”.
A labor of love which fed and supported many families and charities in the community while under the supervision of Joe.
Families will be able to have a sit down spaghetti dinner with salad and bread for only $5 this Thursday – just like the old days.
Mauro explained, “I’m excited about it, buck and Cassie let me help with the remodel. It will never be the same Joe’s Tavern as when my sisters and I grew up in. The spaghetti dinners, prime rib dinners I’m excited about it all. And I can’t thank them enough for giving me that opportunity to help with the remodel.”
Local resident Carolyn Trujillo had told the Independent-News in 2019 when Joe’s Tavern closed their doors that she remembered the spaghetti feeds made with Grandma Julie’s recipe. “[I] went to the hospital to visit someone and Mike Ault was headed for the front door wearing nothing but a hospital gown. It was winter and cold. Asked where he was going and he said, ‘Joe’s – it’s Thursday and I’m going to have some spaghetti.’ All I could say was, ‘I understand.”
“I appreciate everyone who has stopped into Joe’s Tavern and told me their stories,” Cassie explained. And stopped in – they have. There isn’t a person in Hawthorne who doesn’t have a fond (or not so fond) memory of the establishment.
Cassie is trying to capture those memories and has taken the time to meet with people and collect items that had been originally hung on the walls of the bar. But better than that, people have taken the time to gather items and take down to Joe’s, along with the story behind the item.
The new owner explained that there will be shadowboxes one the walls filled with Serpent memories, military memories and breweriana. Peaking over at Cassie, will be the photo of Jerry Lamason – former plant manager of the Hawthorne Army Depot who took controlled in 1980 when the base went civilian.
“It’s time to bring back what Joe had in this place,” she said. That includes fundraising for causes and organizations.
A Facebook message took Cassie by surprise when the person complemented Cassie and the menu, website and overall organization of Joe’s Tavern. The message would go on to say, “Cassie your accomplishments are amazing! I congratulate you on this amazing event. I have many fond memories of Joe, eating in the ‘back room’ to laughing, dancing and flirting with your Dad, to golfing with Joe, Mauro and my Dad. He was a long term good friend of your Grandpa Jerry Lamason. Joe extended his hospitality to Dad from the first day he arrived in Hawthorne to manage DZB in June 1980. From that day forward they became best friends who loved to eat, drink and play golf together.”
On Feb. 13, Tyler Viani, grandson of Joe and Hazel, will DJ a family dance where fathers/daughters and mothers/sons can spend quality time together while raising money for the Little League organization.
With the revitalization of Joe’s Tavern, one less building will sit empty near Hawthorne’s one stoplight. Neighboring El Capitan just underwent huge dining room renovations, Barley’s Sports Bar will keep coming up with new and innovating ways to keep the night life hopping and out on the highway, Dotty’s Casino and Bourbon Street have attracted their own clientele.
It is the hope of the Hall Family that more businesses and people begin to take a positive step to helping revitalizing the community that we have all fell in love with.
Last year, when Joe’s Tavern & Casino closed their doors, Paula Reed, daughter of Joe and Hazel, explained to the Independent-News that the only time the windows were boarded up “is when someone was thrown out the window during a Friday night fight.”
In closing, that Facebook message received by Cassie continued, “This is a great thing you and Buck are doing by reinstating a historical place with fond memories for so many. Congratulations on your grand opening!”