Just as Oscar Sanchez filed for all of his licenses and permits to open Lira Cafe in Silverado Ranch, the novel coronavirus was starting to grow as a nationwide story in the United States. The veteran chef, who worked on the Strip at the Bellagio and Caesars Palace as well as Suncoast and the Renaissance, pulled the trigger to open on Sunday, two days before Gov. Steve Sisolak mandated that all restaurants in Nevada close for dine-in-service for 30 days.
“The city that never sleeps became a ghost town,” he says.
Many restaurants closed at noon on Tuesday, while others scrambled to add curbside pickup or delivery services to keep staff employed and feed customers. Lira opted to open despite the dire state of restaurants in Las Vegas right now.
“We thought we would open just for the heck of it and see what happens.”
Lira offers Mediterranean and Lebanese fare, specializing in kosher and halal food. Chicken kabobs, beef shawarma, falafel, baba ganoush, and traditional kibbeh make the menu, along with a roster of gyros, sandwiches, and an Impossible burger.
For now, Sanchez says he’s offering takeout and delivery with GrubHub and in-house drivers, serving from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“It’s slow. Even our next door neighbors only had one customer yesterday.”
Sanchez plans to offer hookah service as well as a belly dancer and Latin night once restaurants are permitted to reopen.
“I want to do something nice for the neighborhood,” he says about a grand opening in the future. “We are concerned about the community waiting for this to get over with.”
Lira Cafe, Grill & Hookah Lounge, 9890 S. Maryland Pkwy., 702-550-3939