toast of the town
Colin and MaryBeth Smith dish on family and food.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTOS BY ASA GILMORE
Marybeth and Colin Smith's Roundabout dining brand, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, has grown from a small neighborhood bistro and gourmet-style market and deli at the Somersett Town Square to a prominent local name with integrity to match.
MaryBeth first hired Colin in 2007 to help open the small northwest Reno market and eatery, Roundabout Bistro. Although she had no restaurant experience, her idea was to open a small spot that her daughter Beth could help manage and possibly turn into a career.
Colin was a perfect fit to execute the idea. He was a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, his experience included having opened many restaurants with his father since age 14, and he had worked under several European chefs throughout the Bay Area.
It was a successful business match, but soon it became another kind of a match: Several months after Roundabout Bistro opened, Colin and MaryBeth were married.
When the economy took a downturn soon after, Colin and MaryBeth could no longer sustain the liabilities of the brick-and-mortar bistro, so they transitioned Roundabout into a full-time catering and party rentals company. The catering business was first run from a home kitchen, but it quickly outgrew that space. In 2014, Roundabout moved to an 11,000-square-foot facility in Sparks.
Now the Smiths operate their successful catering, party rental, and restaurant business together, while still managing to keep community service a top priority.
Roundabout Grill, the Smiths' newest venture, officially opened its doors on July 1. They lease the space, which formerly housed Heritage, from Whitney Peak Hotel. On top of daily restaurant duties, the Roundabout team provides all catering for the hotel's events and room service.
Several employees of the grill and catering staffs have been with the Smiths since the beginning, including a few former dishwashers from Roundabout Bistro who have since developed into talented chefs in their own right. The Smiths take pride in their staff members and are committed to helping with their professional and personal growth and fostering a positive workplace. This means, among other things, providing all employees with health care and dental insurance coverage as well as paid time off.
"We have so many families [depending on us], so we want to make sure they're taken care of," MaryBeth says.
They do it all
Not only have the Smiths taken on a new restaurant, but along with their team they've created two lines of prepackaged, healthy meals made in house — Gym Rat and Caveman Cuisine. The food is formulated for serious fitness competitors, those who want to lose weight, or those looking to maintain healthy, balanced diets. Gym Rat meals are comprised of 45 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 25 percent high-quality, good fats. Caveman Cuisine meals are more aligned with The Paleo Diet, with fewer carbs and more high-quality fats.
Additionally, the Roundabout team routinely prepares school lunches for eight local private schools, including Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and Little Flower School in Reno. On top of the meal plans and school lunches, the staff continually tackles party rental setup and teardown, large gourmet dinners for up to 500 to 600 people, and regular lunch and dinner service at Roundabout Grill.
"One of our strong points is our ability to cook [all types of cuisine]. We have a huge wingspan," Colin says. "Another is the way MaryBeth has structured the business end. Our customer base sees a very strong front of house, and then they have the ability to [ask us to prepare] anything they can dream of in the kitchen."
Colin's 30-plus years of restaurant/catering experience and MaryBeth's more than 23 years of business/sales experience exemplify their devotion to the food service business as an economic and culinary craft. There's no doubt this is what's enabled them to build a strong reputation in the community.
And the Reno-Sparks community not only benefits from Roundabout's delicious food, but also its owners' big hearts. Chief among the issues near and dear to them is addressing the lack of support for those in transition from restitution centers into the mainstream. Marybeth insists this is a glaringly missing piece.
The Smiths make an effort, when possible, to hire people coming out of these local facilities. Along with providing them jobs (in their warehouse or washing dishes), the Smiths help them plan their finances, find places to live, and truly move toward lives that are manageable and productive.
Attitude is everything
Hard work and dedication are clearly the key to the Smiths' success, but it doesn't always come easily. MaryBeth still works as a sales executive in order to draw additional income, and their hectic schedule includes spending time with their five grown children. But they maintain a positive outlook on their day-to-day operations and expansion.
"This is something I've always believed in and my dad taught me. He said, 'I never want you to consider failure. What you have to consider is levels of success,'" Colin says.
It's a philosophy that's deeply embedded in the Roundabout business, and so far it seems to be working.
Erin Meyering, associate editor for edible Reno-Tahoe, admires both MaryBeth and Colin for their work ethics and big hearts. She's heard Colin makes a mean plate of fish and chips, and can personally attest to the white Cheddar grilled cheese at Roundabout Grill.
Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals
631 Dunn Circle, Sparks
Catering: 775-747-2090, Party Rentals: 775-851-2091 http://www.Roundaboutcatering.com
255 N. Virginia St., Reno
775-398-5455 • http://www.Roundaboutgrill.com