Photo Credit: Elaine & Scott Harris

Currently the world is enduring a pandemic at a level that has not been experienced for many generations and Las Vegas, unfortunately, has not been spared. The world’s dining and entertainment capital has been hit hard on an epic scale. The famed Las Vegas Strip has closed and dimmed its lights for the first time in history, leaving huge numbers of unemployed, an infinite number being in the Food and Beverage Industry. While the Strip dining venues are closed indefinitely for the near future, off Strip venues have been allowed to open for curbside pickup and delivery. This opportunity has left these establishments to have to “think outside of the box.” Flexibility has been the key as they have experimented with different models as the “rules” change, sometimes daily. “We are all trying to bridge the gap and keep our doors open,” said Rooster Boy’s owner Sonia El-Nawal.

Restaurants are now implementing creative resources to get through this difficult time. As the sheer magnitude of this crisis continued to develop, resourceful restaurants got busy meeting their customers while staying within mandated health guidelines. Within Tivoli Village, Chef Sam Marvin’s Echo and Rig’s Butcher Shop remained open to provide customers with fresh cuts of beef, chicken and butcher items while offering daily specials including sandwiches, dinners and sides, as well as wine and batched cocktails to go. Also in Tivoli, Chef James Trees’ ADA’s hosted pop-up events from renowned Evel Pie which were sellouts; and El Dorado provided their excellent dishes for those missing authentic Mexican Cuisine.  

In Desert Shores Lakeside Center, Chef Sonia El-Nawal transformed her successful Rooster Boy Café into a market with all the essentials. El-Nawal’s menu changes daily providing everything from paper towels, bagels, dinners, pastries and much more. Marche Bacchus opened for wine pickup as well as a delightful Charcuterie platter. 

Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau’s Honey Salt aided the most vulnerable and first responders by delivering home cooked meals to the high-risk population. In addition, the Honey Salt team ramped up a curbside cocktail program allowing guests to enjoy their favorite Honey Salt drinks, such as the “Midnight Rambler” or Elizabeth’s favorite gin and tonic with pre-batched ingredients ready to mix and drink at home. 

In nearby Downtown Summerlin, Players Locker Room offers everything from BBQ to pasta along with beer and wine offerings. Also in Summerlin, Chef Gina Marinelli’s La Strega has a special curbside pickup menu that changes weekly to accommodate the flux of available fresh ingredients. For those craving Cajun, Lola’s Summerlin has crawfish, gumbo and all the best of New Orleans-inspired delicacies ready for delivery or pickup. 

Robert Solano’s Bomb Taco is open daily for his incredible Bomb street tacos and other delectable Mexican street food favorites. 

For those wanting a good loaf of homemade bread, Gio Mauro, owner of Pizzeria Monzu, makes sure crusty loaves are made with a proprietary starter without the use of commercial yeast and are available on a daily basis, although they sell out quickly to loyal customers who are eager to pre-order for the artisanal fresh bread. “We are very grateful to our loyal friends for continuing to support Pizzeria Monzu and so many others during this unusual time,” said Gio Mauro. His sentiments are felt by many as each restaurant strives to keep the doors open despite the increasing challenges. 

7th and Carson located in downtown Las Vegas has made curbside pickup and downtown delivery available as well as a market offering grocery items, packaged liquor, bottles of wine, beer and pantry essentials along with menu favorites.  

Nick Palmeri and his Gaetano’s made everyone feel right at home with a huge selection of his Italian cuisine along with cocktails and wine to enjoy with loved ones. 

For more Italian Cuisine, LOCALE Italian Kitchen opened for curbside pickup of their changing menu items and craft cocktails. 

For those desiring spicy Thai Cuisine paired with the ideal wine, Lamaii’s thoughtful wine list and authentic Thai dishes are waiting for those eager to savor satay or indulge in warming curry. Werra Thai is open as well, with a takeout menu that includes beer and wine with your order. 

An educational and fun option is to craft a brilliant meal alongside of your favorite chefs virtually with the help of Jolene Mannina’s Secret Burger. Purchase your ticket through the Secret Burger website and then proceed to the featured restaurant, pick up your pre-prepared ingredients and join the extraordinary Vegas chef line-up, including Chefs James Trees, Brian Howard, Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, Sonia El-Nawal, Jainine Jaffer, Nina Manchev and many more who will then guide you step-by-step through the culinary process for your own restaurant quality meal. 

In these trying times, visiting your local favorites is an excellent way to give back and support the restaurateurs, their staff and vendors. With restrictions easing some as the weeks proceed, along with limited seating and health protocols enacted, there may be less room at the table, but the passion will be felt in each forkful that is shared with friends and family as we gradually come back together in support of our fabulous Vegas restaurant community. We are all in this together.