More than a year after taking over Buon Gusto Ristorante, the father and son restaurant owners have learned a lot about the industry.
“Every day is a learning experience,” said Tommy Thomsen, the owner of the restaurant at 2642 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway.
The owners have expanded hours and invested in a social media presence. They have worked to increase dining space, which is slated to include patio space up front.
The establishment even received an honor coveted by many restaurateurs — a chance to appear on Food Network.
The episode of the Food Network’s “Restaurant Stakeout” aired on Wednesday.
Thomsen never could have imagined that a simple request of his son Joel could have amounted to everything they have experienced today.
As a single parent, Thomsen wanted his teenage son Joel to help around the house.
“I needed him to learn to cook, clean his room and do his laundry,” Tommy Thomsen said. “I got one out of the three.”
As Joel Thomsen learned to cook, he realized how much he enjoyed it.
He decided to go to culinary school after high school.
While in school at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas, Joel Thomsen began working for Buon Gusto — he also worked there when he was 16 washing dishes.
“It’s funny. I would always make a joke that I would own this place,” he recalled.
He went on to become a sous chef at other establishments around town, but he stayed in contact with friends at Buon Gusto.
Two years ago when the owner indicated he wanted to sell the place, Joel Thomsen talked to his father about getting into the business.
“We had talked about it in the past,” Joel Thomsen said. “We were throwing around the idea of a sandwich shop.”
He convinced his father to look at taking over Buon Gusto instead.
Buon Gusto held its grand opening March 2013 with Tommy Thomsen as owner and Joel Thomsen as executive chef.
“I never really wanted to have a restaurant,” Joel Thomsen said. “I fantasized about being an executive chef at a Strip restaurant, but it’s cool.”
Tommy Thomsen, who still works his day job at Eagle Sentry, comes in at night to run the restaurant.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” Tommy Thomsen said. “It took a while to make it our own. People don’t like change.”
But the father-and-son team feels like it is getting the swing of things. Tommy Thomsen said they have won people over.
“They say it’s a hidden gem of Henderson,” he said.
While making it their own, they have worked hard to retain the quality of Italian cuisine.
“Joel’s sauces are made to order,” Tommy Thomsen said. “He really brings his culinary flair.”
They have toyed with the idea of a second location one day.
In the meantime, they love being able to work side-by-side.
“Being able to work with my son is always something I’ve wanted to do,” Tommy Thomsen said.
Buon Gusto Ristorante is open 3:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays.
It also offers takeout from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit buongustolv.com.
Contact Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.