On Monday, Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Summerlin introduced a new menu. Summerlin, part of the Greater Las Vegas Area, is an upscale, planned community near Red Rock Canyon. The eatery’s kitchen is run by Executive Chef Lee Davidson, who has prior experience in kitchens from New York City to the Las Vegas Strip. What is the big deal about a restaurant changing its menu? Perhaps not much in normal times. But these are not normal times. Many restaurants nationwide are struggling under the weight of the pandemic.
On the motivation to change the menu, Mr. Davidson offered this:
“So to be honest, you know, we opened back up at the end of May, early June. And with us, where we are, we’re off Strip at Red Rock Casino. So our restaurant is actually very locally driven in Summerlin. So we have always had a really big following and people really enjoy our food and have enjoyed what we’ve had and enjoy our changes. You know, and then in November, you know, they went back down in occupancy, back down to 25 percent, so, we had to roll back a lot of things there. But then after, you know, knowing it was going to get better, we said ok, let’s come up with, we basically revamped the whole menu. We have 22 new dishes, which is a lot. And we just wanted, you know, when we opened back up to have something new.”
As someone who has worked in two of America’s top cities for dining, New York City and Las Vegas, Lee says that the highest expectations for a restaurant are in Las Vegas:
“I think that Las Vegas has the highest expectations, as far as, I think that, you know, before Covid happened, on the Strip, Las Vegas definitely had what I think is the biggest clientele because we have so many people coming from out of state, out of country, compared to New York City. You know, in New York City, a lot of those people were quote unquote locals. They were all city people. You know, there were a lot of people visiting there, but it wasn’t, New York City doesn’t rely on visitors and travelers. Las Vegas relies on that. So it’s definitely a different scene in that sense.”
The chef has been with Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar for more than three years. On why locals and tourists should come visit his Las Vegas restaurant at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, he shared this:
“I think it’s nice to be able to get off the Strip and you know, enjoy a little bit more of a local atmosphere. Yes, it is a casino. Yes, it is a hotel. But there’s multiple restaurants in our hotel and it’s not just the hotel, it’s the area, it’s Red Rock. You can go hiking and then you go have a bite to eat, you can go for walks. It’s just a really great area and it’s nice to be able to venture off the Strip even when you’re visiting, even when you’re locals, it doesn’t matter. All local people like to venture off Strip.”
Menu changes, redesigning interiors and updated promotional methods are all critical to helping restaurants keep existing customers and attract new ones, especially in the face of Covid-19.
You can learn more about the new menu and offerings for Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar by listening to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Chef Lee Davidson CYInterview: