JBF semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest Nicole Brisson left her post as executive chef of Locale Italian Kitchen, the restaurant she opened with restaurateur Andy Hooper last June near Mountain’s Edge. Both referred to her departure as a “mutual agreement.”
Marc Marrone, the former Tao Group corporate chef and co-owner of the Asian-influenced Graffiti Bao in the southwest, came on board as a chef consultant.
Hooper tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he wants the restaurant to refocus on a mix of upscale Italian fare along with the red sauce dishes his customers have routinely ordered while the eatery focuses on takeout and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I grew up in an Italian-American family in New York and I can’t wait to introduce some of my family recipes to the community in a fun, modern way,” says Marrone, who plans to open Italian Graffiti with an attached pizza window at the The Bend, the new retail center under construction north of Ikea at Sunset Road and Durango Drive. That restaurant will serve pastas made in house when it opens in 2020. Marrone also plans to open a new rooftop restaurant at 201 Las Vegas Blvd. S. with Colin Fukunaga of FukuBurger fame.
Marrone will continue to operate Graffiti Bao as well as run the kitchen at Locale once it reopens for dine in service.
Brisson is one of four semifinalists for a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southwest. Before heading up Locale, she worked as Eataly’s executive chef at the Park MGM. The former executive chef at Carnevino at the Palazzo and chef di cucina at Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria at Grand Canal Shoppes helped open Wynn Las Vegas with chefs Steven Kalt and Paul Bartolotta. For now, Brisson says she’s “taking this time to focus on my health and well-being during the shutdown.”