A giant crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, reflecting warm light throughout the room. Pink and white flowers add touches of color to the white marble tables and brown suede chairs. Customers share stories of their day while sipping on cocktails as soft piano music plays in the background.
If it weren’t for the prices on the menu, one could assume they were in an upscale restaurant.
The Sparklings, 8310 S. Rainbow Blvd., opened in October, offering locals a classy yet affordable night out.
“We’re very casually oriented,” said manager Andy Ko. “(The restaurant) is not one of those places where you go to a couple times a year for special occasions. We try to make it an everyday spot.”
The restaurant serves American cuisine, including sandwiches, pasta and steak entrees. According to Ko, an average meal is about $20 per person.
“We paid a lot of attention to the decor because there’s not many places in this area that look like this,” Ko said. “Because of the decor, a lot of customers assume it’s going to be a lot more expensive, but we try to keep our prices very reasonable.”
Ko and his partner Sophia Hwang spent about a year renovating the space that was once home to a Japanese restaurant and Korean barbecue.
“It took longer than expected because we were so busy,” Ko said, “but we renovated everything except the kitchen and restrooms.”
For about six years, Ko managed Hwang’s other two restaurants, Soyo Korean Barstaurant and Oyshi Sushi, 7775 S. Rainbow Blvd.
“I was hired as a part-time server (at Oyshi Sushi) about two months after they opened,” Ko said. “After a few months, they didn’t have a manager yet, so they asked if I would be interested.”
Ko said managing The Sparklings is different from managing the other two restaurants.
“It’s a totally different serving style,” Ko said. “I can have my servers (at The Sparklings) pay more attention and be more personal with the customers than I could at the other places.”
Originally from Korea, Ko moved to Las Vegas in 2002 to attend UNLV. He graduated with a hospitality degree in 2008.
“I studied in the hotel program and interned at a hotel, but it wasn’t what I expected,” Ko said. “In the program, you get to experience the food and beverage industry, and I thought that was a lot more fun.”
Ko said Hwang also moved from Korea to attend UNLV. She graduated with degrees in hospitality and culinary arts and worked in a few restaurants before opening Oyshi Sushi with her husband.
“We don’t believe in making a lot of money off a few people,” Ko said. “We don’t want to overwhelm or push away certain types of people; we want everyone to be able to enjoy this.”
Crystal Payton, a server, said her customers typically comment on the comfortable atmosphere.
“It’s also nice that there’s no smoking or gaming in here,” Payton said. “It’s something that’s really hard to find in Vegas, especially at an affordable price.”
For more information, call 702-293-5003.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.