The statewide ban on restaurants offering dine-in services caused many to opt to close instead of offering takeout and delivery services, which is still allowed. Every restaurant inside a casino closed. Gov. Steve Sisolak extended the mandated shutdown through April 30. While their restaurants are closed, some chefs and restaurateurs are taking this time to volunteer, cook family meals for staff, or look toward the future.
Downtown’s Carson Kitchen closed on March 17, and the staff has spent time fine-tuning existing menus, coming up with new menu items, and updating policies, owner Cory Harwell says. Staff meets weekly on Zoom, looking for ways to improve service and help the community “once we all get back to some normalcy.”
The restaurant also makes a family meal for the team to take home every Friday with prepared items as well as ingredients to make meals at home.
“We had a bunch of food on property, we bought more, and we sought some wonderful donations from Nicholas Foods and decided to try and do a family meal package each week during this crisis. We just thought it best to try take care of those within our family first,” Harwell says.
The chefs at Wynn Las Vegas, which closed all of its restaurants on March 17, started a project to donate 1,000 meals per day to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. For the next two weeks, Wynn’s culinary team prepares boxed meals to donate. Vice president of culinary operations and development David Snyder heads up the project with the help of Allegro executive chef Enzo Febbraro, Costa Di Mare executive chef Mark LoRusso, The Buffet at Wynn executive chef Jonathan Bauman, Encore in-room dining executive chef Damon Falls, food and beverage executive sous chefs Brian Kenny and Frank Redzikowski, and other members of the food and beverage department.
Paul Hymas, co-founder and president of Nacho Daddy, says his restaurants are typically only closed five hours a day, so projects that take longer were put to the side until now. “We are using this shutdown period as a time to resurface and repair flooring. We have some bars that needed sanded and waterproofed. Basically, all of the repairs and maintenance that we can. We want the restaurants to be as new as possible for reopening.”
Antonio Nunez, executive chef and co-owner at The Stove in Henderson, closed his restaurant on March 29 after doing takeout and delivery, as well as offering essential foods and supplies in a small grocery store. He’s working with his staff on new menu items and a deep clean of the restaurant.
“We plan on refreshing the space while closed by re-painting and performing minor touch-ups and maintenance that we didn’t have time for before due to the high foot traffic. We want our re-opening to be as fresh as it was just two years ago.”
The team also cooks together two days a week.