Over the last 30 years, David Robins worked with Wolfgang Puck, opening five of the celebrity chef’s restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Now, he’s taking over a former novelty store in the Las Vegas Arts District to open a restaurant of his own creation, partnering with Puck to build a venue that focuses on fresh, crusty bread, late-night cocktails, and nurturing the walkability of one of the city’s buzziest neighborhoods.
1228 Main — located at 1228 Main Street — opens on Monday, June 5, across the street from ReBar and next to Velveteen Rabbit. The restaurant, fabricated by conjoining the building that used to house the Oddities store and an adjacent antique shop, is huge by downtown standards. Robins, a managing partner with Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, started working toward his dream of opening 1228 back in 2019, a 6,000-square-foot project that was both delayed by COVID and made more expensive, doubling Robins’s construction costs to total about $4 million.
The result is an expansive and sleek space with a breakfast counter, open kitchen, in-house bakery, and bar area. The centerpiece of the light-filled venue is the bakery counter, in which Director of Pastry Development and Operations, Kamel Guechida’s meticulously laminated pastries sit tantalizingly within a glass case. Above them, stacks of floury loaves of crunchy sourdough and lattice-scored dark bread sit on wall-mounted shelves.
“I was just looking for a space that I could bake bread and sell it. Then I started looking at what areas made sense,” says Robins. “I fell in love with the Arts District area because I lived down here. I love restoring the kind of things that have good bones. And when I walked in here, I realized that the place had a lot of potential.”
The bakery spans the entire length of 1228, where bakers put in upwards of 30 hours prepping and proofing and baking each croissant. Plain croissants are buttery and flaky, while the cookies and cream varieties are filled with pastry cream and topped with Oreo cookies. Some highlight summer flavors with vanilla cream and strawberries or blueberries. Varieties of bread include San Francisco sourdough, buckwheat olive ciabatta, baguettes, and multi-seed rye.
The kitchen menu makes good use of bread, too. There’s a selection of spreads for slathering onto slices, like chicken foie mousse, garlic fondant, and ricotta with olive oil. And the lunch menu highlights sandwiches like grilled cheese on sourdough with tomato soup, a prosciutto sandwich on a baguette, and a croissant egg salad sandwich. Dinner is a more formal affair. Waiters arrive at tables with foie gras pie on a basil crust with strawberry-rhubarb gelee, spicy tomato spaghetti, and chicken pot pie with homemade puff pastry.
1228 is part of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group, even if the marketing doesn’t lean into that affiliation. “It’s not branded like Cut and Spago on the Strip,” says Robins. “You couldn’t come downtown with a brand like that, in my opinion. So I was able to convince Wolf to start up a new brand.” The kitchen doubles as a production kitchen for the Wolfgang Puck catering business that Robins started 30 years ago.
Taking advantage of the Arts District footprint, Robins is enlisting local graffiti artists to put murals up on the building and prints up on the interior walls. The restaurant interior features an amalgam of original and newer building materials, with faded white bricks from the initial building blending into the new, shiny stark bricks of the building’s extension. A warm brick wall divides the main dining room from the marble bartop and bulbous pendant lights in the bar. The bar’s cocktail-forward menu jazzes up traditional drinks, like a whiskey sour with a generous pour of bitters and a Pimm’s Cup that subs in sherry. Opposite the bar, the restaurant is filled with wooden tables and black chairs, enough seating for 100 inside and another 30 or so on the patio.
Starting on Monday, 1228 Main will open at 7 a.m. for coffee, pastries, and breakfast and remain open for lunch service. On June 9, it will expand to dinner service with the bar open until midnight. Robins sees it as the type of place where workers can sit on their laptops with a coffee and breakfast in the morning before groups come in for lunch and dinner. After dinner service, he hopes night owls will build it into their evenings as they hop between neighboring bars.