Sin City is home to plenty of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans don’t find. To guide us towards these potential discoveries, we called on certain food players in our city to share their recommendations for a feature film called Confidential Dinner. Do you know a chef who wants to share some of the best restaurants? The queue is open.
Cory harwell first meeting Kerry Simon while running Cana Tapas Kitchen & Bar in Town Square. Simon came by frequently and the two became friends and then business partners when Harwell took over the operations of the Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place in 2012. The two became partners of the Simon Hospitality Group in 2013. Now the duo have opened Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, Simon Mansion at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and more recently, Carson Kitchen in downtown Las Vegas. The two are also planning to open a sexy gastropub in Henderson.
Harwell worked at a small, family-run restaurant in Woodstock, Georgia, doing the dishes as a child. His career took off when he worked with restaurateur Marc Packer at the opening of Harley-Davidson Cafe, 57 Street and Angelo & Maxie’s in New York City in 1993. He then helped oversee the opening of the new Harley-Davidson Cafe on the Undress. Harwell went to New York-New York to help develop Nine Fine Irishmen. He founded Uber Hospitality Group in 2009 and developed Cana Tapas Kitchen & Bar in Town Square.
Here he talks about three of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you are not working?
Portofino by Michael LaPlaca at Mirage, Herbs & Rye and MTO Café.
Why do you like going there? Which dishes are the most memorable?
The agnolotti burrata and arancini crab cake are awesome to Portofino. I just love this chef Michael La Placa did with this restaurant.
Herbs & Rye, because sometimes I want to drink my dinner. Great atmosphere, cool people and a real classic cocktail made by Nectaly Mendoza. What else do you need?
I love which chef Johnny Church built at MTO Cafe and since it opened in downtown Summerlin, there’s nowhere else I would rather be for breakfast. MTO’s signature breakfast is my choice. I just wish I could finish it someday.