Believe it, in one week, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar going in at the Venetian will be complete and awaiting its first guests to plop down in the cozy confines by the end of the year. John Kunkel, CEO of parent company 50 Eggs, walked through the chaos of construction going on in round-the-clock shifts to complete on deadline, giddy at the prospect of what his newest, and quite large, restaurant and bar will offer to Las Vegas.
"For two years we’ve been trying to get a restaurant in Las Vegas," Kunkel says. He even went so far as to mock up a design for the former Dos Caminos space at the Palazzo, a mammoth space, when this opportunity in the former Pinot Brasserie space came along.
At the front, the main attraction, the bar with a long L-shaped seating area and drink rails along the chicken wire windows that look out on the pathway between the Venetian and Palazzo. Behind that, the main dining room with a custom chandelier with 250 bulbs that will glow softly. Guests will be able to look into the kitchen, which Kunkel calls a "dream" for executive chef Todd Harrington, whose staff is working in another kitchen to perfect the Southern cooking found here. Above that, chalkboards calling out the daily specials. The main dining room even features a section at the side where pocket doors can shut to create a second private dining room and perhaps even a stage for entertainment.
"This is where this turns into something," Kunkel says as he walks around his restaurant.
Throughout find bricks for the walls, all waiting to be whitewashed. Reclaimed wood from a barn in North Carolina finds a new use on the walls and floors. A secret door leads to a very private dining room that features lockers for bourbon lovers. Another door off the bar leads to the ice room, where five kinds of ice plan to be on prominent display.
Kunkel’s menu comes from his grandmother’s cooking in a small one-stoplight town in South Carolina. "We would always leave with a paper bag of her fried chicken, and I think it made it halfway down the driveway," he says, calling it the "comfort food that we love that’s true to the South."
And, yes, in one week Yardbird should change from a construction zone to a finished restaurant with every detail in place. Expect a Dec. 30 opening.