Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city's food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Fans of Brett Raymer and Wayde King on Animal Planet's hit TV show Tanked already knows the Acrylic Tank Manufacturing partners know how to turn around a project in record time. Now Raymer turns his attention to the land of doughnuts, revamping two Donut Mania locations and opening a third, with more on the horizon. Here, Raymer talks about his expansion plans, some of his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas and more.
What made you decide to take over Donut Mania in Las Vegas?
Doughnuts have been something I’ve loved since I was a kid. I always look for new doughnut spots when we are on the road. We were on a project in Seattle and went to VooDoo Doughnut. The flavors just blew my mind. I got inspired. So, I got back to Vegas and tried every doughnut spot in the city. When I tasted Donut Mania, I knew they were the ones I wanted to partner with because they make the most amazing, flavorful doughnuts in Vegas.
What more do you have planned for the future?
We are taking doughnuts to the next level! We are expanding in Vegas and looking to have five to six stores open by the end of the year. We have several strong partnerships coming up to make sure you can get a Donut Mania doughnut no matter where you are in Vegas. We will soon be expanding into Utah and franchising is definitely on the horizon.
And how in the heck do doughnuts fit in with gigantic aquariums?
To build a successful business you have to do something you love. If there’s anything I love as much as fish, it’s my love for doughnuts. We did have an episode where we built an aquarium for a doughnut shop and I realized I could be successful in both. It’s a natural fit. We are a family friendly show and doughnuts are definitely fun for the whole family. A lot of the celebrities who travel to film the show with us go to Donut Mania so you never know who you might see there from Tanked.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
My first trip to Vegas, I was early 20s and living in New York. A club called the Shark Club, owned by Jerry Tarkanian and the Palladium were the hot spots back then. There was this fresh energy in Vegas that was new exciting.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
My dad moved here first. This was in 1994. I came out on vacation to visit and saw the growth potential for the city and I knew Vegas was my future.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I’m a really big buffet guy and love to go to the Santa Fe buffet. My No. 1 dish is an egg white omelet with ham, jalapenos, avocado, Swiss cheese, and pico de gallo. And I love not having to wait and getting instant gratification. When I’m hungry in the morning, all I want to do is eat.
What about lunch?
During the day we are busy at the office and with filming. Lunch has to be quick and easy. My favorites are Jersey Mike’s No. 9 Club Supreme, replace the turkey with ham. We do a lot of catering with our film crew and favorites are Samurai Sam’s and Crazy Pita.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
I’m a big steak and lobster kinda guy.! Surf and turf all day long. If I’m downtown, I go to Andiamo Steakhouse at The D Hotel. If I’m near my home, I go to The Charcoal Room at Santa Fe or Austin’s at Texas Station.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
We always love to try new spots and look at eater.com for the new, up and coming exciting restaurants. We hop from restaurant to restaurant to try new dishes.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
I’m a huge sports fan so on the weekends we invite everyone over to watch the games, especially when the Cowboys are playing. We love to entertain and host family and friends. Our go to spot is Bagel Cafe on Buffalo. Can’t go wrong with fresh bagels, schmear, hand sliced nova and belly lox, and cold cuts.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
With having kids and a family and multiple businesses, I usually pick the kids up from school and hang out at home. But if I do go out, Kona Grill at Boca is a great spot.
• All Coverage of Donut Mania [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]