Ghosts of Carson: Super-Arnul-Burrito-King-Fo’s

Ghosts of Carson is a series that looks at the empty and unused buildings of Carson City.

Every town has its revolving doors. Those buildings that just can’t seem to hold a tenant. A new restaurant or store will move in and make a go of it for a couple of years, then they’ll be out of business before you know it, and soon enough another one is moving in. This building at 1250 South Carson Street didn’t start out that way, but it’s become a revolving door that’s currently in the process of revolving again.

This building started out as a Burger King. Built in the late 70s or early 80s, it was right across the street from the Carson Mall and up the street from the Silver City Mall. This was the hot part of town back then. For decades Burger King sat here, sandwiched between Long John Silver’s and Arby’s


But by the 2000s this wasn’t the hot part of town anymore. Newer stores had opened at the edges of town. Another Burger King had opened at the north end of town. So in late 2009 this Burger King closed and was emptied out.



But it didn’t stay empty long. The door started revolving almost right away. By late January 2010, signs were up that it was being turned into a Super Burrito. This local chain had locations in Reno and also expanded to Minden around the same time. It seemed like it would be a stable replacement that would last a while.

And it did last a while, but not as long as Burger King. In 2016 Super Burrito vacated this spot and left Carson City behind, though they are still open in Minden. The next tenant, which moved in pretty quickly, was Alderto’s Fresh Mexican Food.

June 2017

But that one didn’t last either. In 2019 it reopened as Sombrero’s Mexican Food. This one was so short lived I don’t even remember it, but there is a Carson Now article announcing its opening. And by short lived, I mean it didn’t even make it a year. Just a few months later in 2020, another a new Mexican food place was open in this space, Arnulfo’s. Arnulfo’s was definitely my favorite of the bunch. The best carne asada in town, in my opinion.

For a while it seemed like Arnulfo’s would last. At least I hoped it would. But that wasn’t to be either. In November 2023 Arnulfo’s closed too. The door just keeps on revolving.

And the next act for this restaurant may have already been written. Though we’re not sure yet. Soon after Arnulfo’s closed, around Christmas 2023, a banner went up on the building saying “Carl’s Jr., Coming Soon”. Carl’s Jr. has its own troubled history in Carson City. There used to be a Carl’s Jr. right across the street from Burger King, in the parking lot of the Carson Mall. But that Carl’s Jr. closed and was torn down in 2014. Carl’s said they were looking for other locations in Carson City to move to, but in the 10 years since nothing has happened.

Carl’s Jr. has remained a popular topic around town, especially on Facebook. Every time a restaurant closes, someone in the comments says that Carl’s Jr. should move in. Every time a new restaurant opens, someone chimes in to say that it should have been a Carl’s Jr. instead. Some people can’t let go of the Carl’s Jr. dream. Even the news story I linked to above announcing Arnulfo’s closing had comments under it saying this would be a good place for Carl’s Jr.

So you can imagine there was some excitement around this announcement. Except – the wrinkle in this story – there was no announcement. There were no press releases. There was no official message from Carl’s Jr. or a franchisee. A request to the company by the newspaper went unanswered. It is now 4 months later, and still to this day, literally the only information we’ve gotten is this banner. No confirmations, no denials, no timeline for renovations. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a hoax. Maybe someone bought a banner on eBay and put it up as a joke to troll everyone on Facebook.

Edit: There is a “Major Project Review” listed on the city building permit site. And that plan describes it as a Carl’s Jr., though there aren’t any more details. So it looks like the banner is accurate, but they’re working their way through the city to get permits for the remodel. Or they’re planning on tearing it down and rebuilding new. I can’t imagine them wanting to take on the task of modernizing a 40+ year-old restaurant when bulldozers are an option.

But, regardless of if Carl’s Jr. is in this building’s future or not, for now this is just an empty building. So before the door revolves again and we get something new in here, let’s take a look at the current state of the old Super-Arnul-Burrito-King-Fo’s. (Especially if it is going to be torn down)

One comment

  1. Interesting, I have a bit of a hard time of believing that the building itself would be rebuilt into a new Carl’s Jr, as CKE (or whatever corporate calls itself these days) prefers purpose-built stores to the latest specs over remodeling. They typically “modernize” their stores by just building a new one, in fact in some areas where land is really expensive, they will close the store, tear up the parking lot, build a new store there, then tear down the old store and make that area the new parking lot. Just my $0.02 worth…

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