Jonathan Venegas, General Manager, and Michael Thompson, Lead Bartender. Photo credit: Alice Swift 

During my last trip to Las Vegas (October, 2019), I attended a conference at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. While there, I had the opportunity to connect with our magazine’s very own Bob Barnes, Editorial Director. He recommended checking out Edge Steakhouse, which opened in July of 2015 after the hotel was purchased and renovated into the Westgate (in 2014). This location has quite the history, having first opened its doors on July 2nd, 1969, recently celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. 

Since its opening, Edge Steakhouse has risen to become TripAdvisor’s #1 steakhouse in Las Vegas, and Las Vegas Review-Journal’s 2019 Gold Winner for Best Wine Bar. During the visit, I was able to chat with two of the primary people responsible for the beverage offerings at the restaurant, and they shared some of their insights into the success of the restaurant along with some of their drink recommendations. 

The General Manager 

Jonathan Venegas is the General Manager for Edge Steakhouse, but also helps to manage the beverage program for the entire Westgate Las Vegas property. Having worked in high quality food and beverage establishments such as Bellagio and Aria, it is clear that Venegas brings a wealth of experience. Part of the key to his success was to maintain focus on the guest, while providing quality F&B offerings. 

I noticed the bar and restaurant stayed busy throughout the evening, with quite a few regular customers. Venegas shared that because all of the servers and staff in the restaurant have unique personalities and come from different experiences and backgrounds, the guests will have a new experience each time, depending on who they interact with. 

Servers are also loyal to the establishment, and are quite genuine when it comes to making recommendations. In fact, there are multiple employees who have been at this since day one (even prior to Edge Steakhouse). That’s quite an accomplishment, considering the hotel just celebrated its 50th anniversary! The staff are well-trained and are all able to recommend wine pairings. 

Recently, Venegas has been working to enhance the beverage menu with new additions to the beer, wine and cocktail selections. In place is also a Coravin preservation system (www.coravin.com) that allows wines to be syphoned without removing the bottle’s cork. During my visit, Venegas revealed a sneak preview of some of the new offerings, such as Opus One 2015 and 2016, Opus One Overture, Dom Pérignon, Orin Swift Papillon, etc. The best thing about having a Coravin system is the reduction of bottle waste, and the opportunity for guests to taste a rotation of higher-end wines without having to purchase the
entire bottle. 

In the past, the restaurant was focused on Italian wines, but now Venegas has integrated a variety of wine regions. As Venegas expressed, if you “do one thing, do it right.” When it comes to cocktails, Venegas focuses on drinks being “simple but good,” while also ensuring the cocktails go well with the food. 

Favorite Drink: Edge Smash (Jack Daniels Rye, lavender syrup, lemon juice, mint, bitters) 

Fun Fact! Venegas has a six-year-old son with autism, and his mission is to go with his son to every sporting stadium possible in the country, beginning with all the baseball stadiums (there are 32 in case you
were wondering!). 

The Bartender 

The great selection of cocktails are in large part due to Michael (Mike) Thompson, lead bartender. Talk about a unique personality! With his friendly smile and magnetic personality along with his awesome mixology skills, I can see why people return time and time again. With over 30 years in the industry, Thompson really brings experience and flair to Edge Steakhouse, and has been with the restaurant since the Westgate Hotel was opened five years ago. 

During my visit, I saw a genuine act of kindness from Thompson, and the perfect example of putting the “focus on the guest.” Towards closing time, Thompson chose to walk a guest who wasn’t feeling well back to the elevator to make sure she was okay. As Thompson says, “Take ownership of your role, own it.” The restaurant is “home” to him. Passionate manager, staff, passionate about what they do. 

Fun Fact! Thompson is an avid motorcycle enthusiast (Harleys), and has ridden through over 40 states on his bike. A fellow co-worker also shared that Thompson is a true animal lover at heart. Eleven years ago, he rescued a Chihuahua in a cardboard box in NY. His name is Guinness and has been with him ever since! 

Favorite Drink: Paradise Road (Belvedere, lemon, organic grapefruit, cranberry, watermelon float) 

The next time you are craving a delicious steak, a special hand-crafted cocktail, or just some great conversation, stop in at Edge Steakhouse! 

Hours: Mon. Closed | Tues. 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. |
Wed. 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. | Thurs. 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. |
Fri. 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. | Sat. 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. | Sun. Closed 

Reservations: Available by calling (702) 732-5277 

Website (via Bitly URL shortener): https://bit.ly/3763hF3