Two weeks after Nevada’s moratorium on food service in restaurants, Governor Steve Sisolak extended the mandatory 30-day shutdown of his non-essential business from March 18 until the end of April. For restaurants across Las Vegas, it has solidified a hard truth amid the growing coronavirus pandemic: The next few months will be about survival, not profit.
During a drive through the western communities of Las Vegas, the deceptively Italian streets of Tivoli Village were quiet, the normally crowded parking lots of Boca Park were empty, and the Regal Cinemas that anchors Village Square was closed.
Although a feeling of gloom hangs over the neighborhood, a number of restaurants remain open. Some offer comfort food, others unique take-out for families with restless kids to entertain. Many quickly switched to take-out cocktail kits following a new permit allowing the sale of alcohol with take-out orders. This provides a stark contrast to the nearly vacant Strip, where the casinos are locked down and the sidewalk terraces are empty. For a city that is generally seen as welcoming the tourist industry, the more locally oriented restaurants on the west side of town have been able to stay open thanks to the people who actually live in Las Vegas.
At Rampart Commons, Honey Salt, North Italia, and Flower Child are all open and offer take out and delivery.
In addition to its takeout options, Honey Salt has turned its bar into a marketplace featuring the kind of farm-fresh items the restaurant is known for, such as Jerusalem artichokes, avocados, lemons and limes. Restaurateur Elizabeth Blau noted the popularity of Honey Salt’s comfort foods, including fried chicken, meatloaf, ribs, and do-it-yourself pizza kits. Blau has been an important voice for local Las Vegas restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. After starting a petition to Sisolak centered on the need for state and federal assistance for food and beverage companies and employees, she helped create Delivering with Dignity, a program that provides meals to people. elderly and immunocompromised in Las Vegas. Recently, Blau reported that Honey Salt employees prepared more than 1,600 meals as part of the effort.
“There are so many people in our community who are in need of prepared food,” says Blau. “Our team voted unanimously that they wanted to remain open despite the risks they might have with customers or suppliers. They believe in honey and salt and they believe that we bring some comfort to the community. You see a real sense of pride. It is an extraordinary and heartwarming effort.
In the village of Tivoli, a number of restaurants, including El Dorado Cantina, Echo & Rig, Pressed Juicery, PKWY Tavern, and Cupkates, are open for take out and delivery. Having recently taken a hiatus, Italian restaurant Ada’s has transformed into a pop-up pizza delivery and delivery space for downtown Evel Pie.
The steakhouse and butcher Echo & Rig have temporarily closed their restaurant, while keeping their butcher shop open and adding daily take-out including soups, sandwiches and stir-fries, as well as five cocktail kits ranging from palomas to bloody. bottomless marys, with an entire bottle of vodka, celery sticks and olives. The village of Tivoli has long been a popular destination for affluent Summerlin residents, and the future of take-out businesses may depend on their disposable income.
Chef Sam Marvin, who typically travels to Echo & Rig every week from California, focused on managing business operations from his family’s home in Santa Clarita. “I talk to the team five or six times a day,” says Marvin. “It’s a lot of phone calls, a lot of Zoom and Skype. It fills the void. Yes, I would like to be there, but I have two boys and a wife and we have been isolated in our house for 17 days.
When asked what the future of dining in Las Vegas would look like, Marvin predicted increased support for the local food scene. “Everyone thinks you want to be on the Strip, but I think there’s going to be a 180 degree change,” he says. “The hotels on the Strip will not be as full as the restaurants in the community because it will be the locals who will be supporting the city for a while.”
A short walk from Echo & Rig, the local bakery and Cupkates tea space offers take-out food with the kids in mind. “Our business is for kids, so it’s all about giving them something,” says bakery founder Kate Anyanwu.
Takeaway items at Cupkates include DIY cookie kits and tea kits with disposable floral tea cups and rose tea bottles with edible sprinkles. The bakery offers free delivery in the Summerlin area.
“It’s a family business,” says Anyanwu. “The other day my husband was driving and my daughter and I were in the backseat making deliveries.”
In addition to Cupkates, Anyanwu operates Party Ever After, a service that brings princess characters to events. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, fairy-tale characters have been brought online, appearing in children’s homes on demand via Zoom.
At Boca Park, espresso lovers from the affluent neighboring Summerlin community always stop by Sambalatte for their morning fix of caffeine. The cafe, which has three other locations in Las Vegas, is open for curbside beverage service and also has a pop-up market with groceries such as rice, pasta, eggs, and butter. .
“We opened during the recession, and now it’s like another recession right now,” says founder Luiz Oliveira. “But at the time, I did my research and learned that alcohol and coffee are recession-resistant. Coffee is a necessity, just like water. People may drink less, but they still need to drink it. ”
So far, consumer buying trends have supported half of this equation, with data from Foursquare, Yelp and Womply showing increased traffic to liquor stores, increased revenue, and increased online alcohol searches during the month of March.
Next door, Cheesecake Factory, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Panera Bread are open for take out and delivery. The Target store that anchors Boca Park ensures that some foot traffic – though far less than usual – still brings business to area restaurants.
Within a mile and a half, most restaurants in Village Square remain open for take out. This includes the Neapolitan-style pizzeria Settebello, the local Thai chain of Las Vegas Archi’s, the Mediterranean restaurant Khoury’s, Chicago Brewing Co., which offers take-out craft beer producers, and the Korean fusion hot dog restaurant Buldogis Gourmet Hot. Dogs. This mall serves a number of apartment complexes and residential areas nearby, and has remained relatively busy despite the temporarily closed cinema in the center of the square.
“We have lost more than half of our business,” says Boyzie Milner, owner of Buldogis with his wife Mi Sun Han. “I have a staff of 10 and I had to reduce it to three people. It was tough, but as long as I can break even, I can pay them. I’m not even trying to make money.
Near the entrance to Village Square, the local Mexican-American restaurant Nacho Daddy is open for curbside pickup and delivery. Quickly obtaining a take-out liquor license, the restaurant now offers take-out margarita kits that feature tequila, a margarita mix, lime, salt, and glasses.
“I am surprised at how quickly and easily it was possible to deliver the cocktails,” said Paul Hymas, President of Nacho Daddy. “It was a pleasant surprise.”
As Luis Oliveira de Sambalatte observed during his recession-era research, liquor sales offer a lifeline for restaurants even – or perhaps mostly – in a city like Las Vegas, where employment collapses and anxiety increases. Take-out alcohol permits to alcohol delivery startups, nationwide spirits sales.
“We first heard about take-out cocktails on Friday and we did it the following Monday,” Hymas said. “We spread the word on social media and people called him immediately. “
For communities in western Las Vegas, such as Peccole Ranch and the Lakes, a trip to the Strip or downtown Las Vegas has always required a 20- to 30-minute commute, making destinations like Tivoli Village, Boca Park, Rampart Commons and Village Square are more convenient options for eating and drinking. Amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, the near total closure of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street has kept residents in their communities. Restaurateurs serving these communities, many of whom have had to innovate by offering pop-up markets and take-out cocktail kits, seem determined to continue their efforts, even though the methods of doing so have changed dramatically.
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