ELKO – For 21 years owner John Lemich and his staff have been feeding the masses with a menu that has stood the test of time.
“I used to sell food with Rykoff foods,” Lemich said.
He moved to Elko with the company and was in the back of every restaurant in town.
“Dorothy Steninger wanted to sell this business,” Lemich said about Machi’s. “I wanted to get out of the corporate world and have my own business.”
“The bones of the lunch menu are still Dorothy’s creations,” he said. “We have added a couple of items throughout the years, but this is probably the most unique menu in town so we have stuck with it.”
It was difficult for Lemich to pinpoint a favorite food item at the restaurant because everything on the menu is popular. However, a couple of sandwiches definitely stand out. The Mother Lode and Patty’s Favorite are frequent choices during the mid-day meal. Piled high with a variety of meats, cheeses and veggies, neither sandwich should be approached with a wimpy appetite. In fact, Machi’s menu has the disclaimer, “You had better be hungry!” printed before the Mother Lode’s description.
The Mother Lode is just that, a sandwich with all the fixings. Ham, turkey, salami and three kinds of cheese give the meal a protein punch. Tomatoes and red onions add crunch and flavor. Pack it all together with an onion roll and you have a really satisfying sandwich.
Patty’s Favorite was named after a former employee who created the mega meal. Rye bread is piled high with turkey, ham and provolone. Cucumber, avocado and alfalfa sprouts come next. Add a special, spicy condiment in the form of honey mustard and you have the real deal.
Nancy Ernaut, a regular at the restaurant, always enjoys Machi’s.
“It’s very good,” Ernaut said. “I like the chicken enchiladas. The bean salad is great.”
Lemich is a big fan of spit cooking, a process he grew up with. He offers a spit cooking class each year through the Western Folklife Center during the Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
During one packed class, local student Diane Rice said, “I love that this is a hands-on class. I like the little inside tricks that the restaurant people do.”
Lemich added a dinner menu to the restaurant offerings when he purchased the business. Besides the multiple menu offerings, a special dish is offered every night of the week.
“We have a good 5 o’clock bar crowd with mostly locals,” Lemich said. “There have been a lot more tourists in the last few years.”
Lemich attributes this factor to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. He also credits TripAdvisor and Yelp for the additional out-of-town crowd.
Besides the restaurant operations which are beyond busy five days and nights a week, Lemich also has a catering service that provides food for weddings, funerals, corporate parties, in-house parties and gatherings at ranches, mines and local businesses.