At her newly opened restaurant, the Bedford by Martha Stewart, the lifestyle trailblazer aims to give visitors a taste of what it is like to be a guest at her New York home, from the country farmhouse stylings to Martha’s favorite recipes. It was big news when the Queen of Entertaining announced her intentions to open her first restaurant in Las Vegas and, so far, the menu, decor and Snoop Dogg appearance have garnered a ton of hype.
With all that she’s conquered in retail, publishing and broadcast, it might be surprising to some that this is Stewart’s first restaurant. “It’s a rather strange time for me since most people my age are retiring,” says the 81-year-old multi-hyphenate. Previously, her early morning wake up calls for daily television appearances made it prohibitive for her to stay up late, as most restaurateurs do. “Now that I don’t sleep anyway”, she jokes, the time is finally right. “I’ve always wanted a restaurant, and this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Like Stewart herself, the Bedford design has a refined air — even if the gimmicky fake ceiling of the Paris Las Vegas casino makes for an odd background against the otherwise stylish “patio” at the restaurant’s entrance. Although the restaurant is intimate— at least by Strip standards— with 194 seats, the original DIY influencer says it’s three times larger than her own home in Bedford, New York, after which the interior of the space was modeled. Upon entering, the first thing one notices is the large bar area which, among other beverages, serves “Martha’s Chard,” a Chardonnay that pairs well with a juicy whole roast chicken, carved tableside. Playfully-named cocktails include the Martha-tini and the Frozen Pomegranate Martha-rita, the latter made with tequila, Cointreau, and pomegranate juice with a sugar and salt rim.
Towards the back of the room, a giant hutch filled with glass-domed cake stands, multi-tier serving towers and other clear serving dishes, divides the bar area from the bustling open kitchen. Shiny copper pots and pans from Martha’s retail line hang above the white counters, as they do in her own home. The lifestyle leader collects antique copper cookware and uses her pieces regularly to mix, simmer, saute, boil, and bake her favorite recipes. On the ceiling, half-sphere mercury lights shimmer above the kitchen area, the same way they do in her 1925 farmhouse. “I searched for those lights,” says Stewart. “And they reproduced them here so effortlessly.” She worked closely with Kevin Sharkey, her chief creative officer, to replicate the Bedford estate’s every detail, down to the place settings.
To the right of the restaurant is the Brown Room, a replica of Stewart’s home dining room. The sophisticated yet comfortable Brown Room continues the neutral palette, with finishes such as wainscoting, sconces, and framed mirrors found throughout the entire space. Panels treated with a “faux bois” pattern punctuate the walls. Stewart explained the technique of mimicking wood grain on concrete and estimated that it would take her three to four hours to complete the panels herself. In true Las Vegas fashion, LED screens stand in for windows, offering recreated views of the trees outside her home.
The French-influenced dishes on the menu are sophisticated, if not boundary-pushing. The buckwheat crepes with one ounce of Golden Osetra caviar, creme fraiche and hard-boiled eggs separated by yolks and whites start at $99.95. Stewart rarely eats burgers, but enthusiastically points to Martha’s Square Burger ($30.95) topped with tomato jam, caramelized onions and homemade mustard and served on a square-shaped brioche bun, as one of the only hamburgers she enjoys. Other menu items include a crab cake ($32.95), an original recipe from her second of nearly 100 cookbooks, and Big Martha’s Pierogis ($29.95), her mother’s recipe, with an option to add caviar for about $100 more. Martha’s Smashed Baked Potato (starting at $15.95) is not only delicious, but it is oddly satisfying to watch the server slam the spud on a hard marble surface before reshaping it on a plate in front of you.
A frequent visitor to Las Vegas, Stewart says she plans to dine at the Bedford often, and she hinted she will return to see Adele perform during the holidays. Although it is currently only open for dinner, the restaurant will eventually expand its hours to host lunches, brunches and private events.