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3 Employees Share Their Favorite Memories of Nobhill Tavern, Closing Saturday

Nobhill Tavern
Nobhill Tavern
Photo: MGM Grand

Saturday marks the last night of service at Nobhill Tavern, Michael Mina's restaurant at the MGM Grand that opened 12 years ago. The restaurant, home to Mina's cable car, lobster pot pie and one of the best happy hours in town, dims the lights to make way for a new concept from restauranteur Michael Morton. Already the final menu came out, available until closing on Saturday night. Never fear, Mina plans to open Pub 1842 in the former Seablue space, debuting some of the menu items poolside during Vegas Uncork'd. Here, Eater Vegas interviewed three employees who helped open the restaurant, and remain there through the end of service, about some of their favorite memories at Nobhill Tavern, must-order dishes and where they are headed next.

Jake Leslie
How long have you worked at Nobhill Tavern?
I was a part of the opening of the restaurant as a busboy, left and came back as a server. All in all? About seven years.

What do you do there?
I am a server

What are some of your favorite memories of working at Nobhill Tavern?
It has been one of the only restaurants in which, for the most part, the kitchen and the front of the house got along well. Chefs like Sven Meade, Jay Wetzel and Wayne Alcaide all took guest's requests and went above and beyond. Sven in particular could pull the most amazing vegetarian dishes seemingly out of thin air.

Were there any special requests from customers that are memorable?
The first time I waited on one of my favorite guests it was for his bachelor party. Next time I saw him was with his beautiful wife for their honeymoon. Third time was for their anniversary, and so on.

What dishes do you think guests should order during the last week?
We were known for the Lobster Pot Pie, and there will be more than a few broken hearts when it is gone, but be warned, it is quite rich. Start with something a bit lighter like say, some delicious west coast oysters, and then feast on the potpie, but save a little room for a tarte tatin. Personally? I'd do charcuterie into cioppino, with a side of frites and a bottle of Burgundy. Perfect.

How about cocktails?
Have Mike make you a Sazerac at the bar on the way in, and have Davin pour you a Fernet Branca on the way out.

What's next for you?
I accepted a position as a captain at Aureole. Turns out, I'm too big to be a wine angel.

Jaime Diaz
How long have you worked at Nobhill Tavern?

Twelve years, day one employee.

What do you do there?
Server

What are some of your favorite memories of working at Nobhill Tavern?
All the people I have worked with over the years. Nights where we are extremely busy and we are all still able to keep smiles on our faces. Interaction with some of the other servers, Leo in particular, that just cannot be put into words but are moments that you talk about for a long time.

Can you talk about some of your favorite customers at Nobhill Tavern?
I have the pleasure of waiting on two winemakers and repeat guests of mine. They have been coming to Nobhill Tavern for many years and have always been great people to take care of.

Any crazy memories on say a concert night?
Lady Gaga concert-goers are memorable!

Were there any special requests from customers that are memorable?
We get so many requests every week that nothing really stands out; we will do anything to make sure we can honor each request. Some engagements are pretty memorable: one in particular was a guest that handed just handed me a ring and told me to do "something nice" with it. We had a cocktail at the time that had a sugar garnish on it; we hung the ring from the piece of sugar and delivered that to the table.

What do you think you learned during your 12 years at Nobhill Tavern?
What haven't I learned? Been a great experience with wine, guest interaction, how to read a guest and their needs.

What dishes do you think guests should order during the last week?
Lobster Pot Pie. Nothing else like it.

How about cocktails?
Haight Ashbury from years past, Grey Matter on the current list. Oh, and maybe a Cable Car.

What's next for you?
Vacation with the family.

Edgardo Valiante
How long have you worked at Nobhill Tavern?

Day one employee

What do you do there?
Servers' assistant

What are some of your favorite memories of working at Nobhill Tavern?
New Year's Eve 2004 we had a big table at our chef's table and they had a really fun time — great night for us!

Can you talk about some of your favorite customers at Nobhill Tavern?
Got to help take care of Robin Williams and was very surprised that he could speak fluently Spanish and was also a very nice guy. Taking care of Priscilla Presley, talking to her about Elvis — she gave me one of her bracelets to remember her by. Mr. Jose Kalifa — great guy!

Any crazy memories on say a concert night?
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones asked me for a Jack Daniels because the server was busy. I brought him the drink and he said, "NO, I wanted the bottle!"

Were there any special requests from customers that are memorable?
We had a guest ask us for sushi!!! We went next door to Grand Wok and got him some sushi.

What do you think you learned during your 12 years at Nobhill Tavern?
I learned what it meant to be professional. Learned about food, wine and steps of proper service. Learned what it meant to take care of our guests.

What dishes do you think guests should order during the last week?
Everyone loves the signature dish, Lobster Pot Pie.

How about cocktails?
Traditional Cable Car.

What's next for you?
Thankfully staying with Michael Mina, moving to Miami to work at Bourbon Steak. Very important to me to stay in the company.
· All Coverage of Nobhill Tavern [~ELV~]

Aureole

3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89119 (702) 632-7427 Visit Website

Pub 1842

3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-891-3922

Michael Mina

3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard, , NV 89109 (866) 259-7111 Visit Website

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