After being laid off in 2012 following a restaurant closure, Steve Piamchuntar and his wife, Lorie, decided to pursue their dream of opening their own restaurant.
Steve, former executive chef at the Stirling Club at Turnberry Place, opened Nosh & Swig in December with Lorie.
“We’re each other’s backbone. We’ve been together for 16 years,” Lorie said. “We did the whole high school sweetheart thing. This was our next biggest conquer.”
The couple started looking into locations that would fit their ideal budget and style. They eventually settled on a small location inside a strip mall at 3620 E. Flamingo Road.
“The location of the restaurant tends to seem offbeat with the style, but realistically this is our first restaurant and there were a lot of risks involved,” Lorie said. “Plus,” Steve added, “we saw this place as a fixer-upper.”
Steve is no stranger to the restaurant business. Besides having experience as an executive chef, he grew up in the restaurant business. His family owns two Thai restaurants in California named Om and Dome. In addition, Steve and Lorie ran their own catering business from 2005 to 2009.
Before opening their restaurant, the duo strived to make their brand specific. They chose to add big, cushioned booths, colorful menus, art and an open-air kitchen. Then there was the name.
“I basically picked the name because, after doing a lot of research, I found out that names with the word ‘and’ in the middle are very successful,” Lorie said. “Nosh and Swig means eat and drink. Simple yet intricate.”
Steve’s half-Thai heritage has influenced his French, Mexican, Italian and Asian-infused cooking, which can be seen in the menu options.
The menu is divided into eight sections headed by photos of a pig, cow, fish, chicken, broccoli, cheese, cupcake and soda. Each section has five to eight different items featuring a range of styles and flavors.
“The flavor of the food is very loud. It hits you,” Steve said. “It’s not subtle. It’s very strong and straight to the point. There’s no lack of flavor. If it’s too sweet or too salty, that’s just the loudness talking.”
Steve intentionally sets the food on small plates and people are encouraged to order different items and share with one another.
“I hate waste,” Steve said. “That’s the biggest part about this menu right here, waste. Some restaurants serve huge-portion plates and even though it’s delicious, people end up throwing it away. It’s a sign of disrespect for the food and for the cuisine. I’d rather make it small and make them want more.”
Prices range from $4 to $13 per plate. All of the recipes are original or interpretations of well-known dishes created by Steve, who enjoys freestyling all of his food.
“The dishes are served in perfect portion sizes and they are simple yet unique,” said customer Jessica Carroll. “The food is also very flavorful, fresh, and it just looks so pretty.”
Menu items include the Smokey Poké, made with Ahi tuna; citrus ponzu and nori chips; and the Diablo Eggs, Steve’s spicier take on deviled eggs, made with egg yolk aioli, olive tapenade and smoked paprika.
“The whole menu style is ‘why not?’ ” Steve said. “Why not give it a try and make things different? No one is stopping us.”
Among other items are the salads, which are served in a Mason jar. According to the Piamchuntars, they chose to use the jar so people could interact with their food and shake it.
“We wanted to make everything different and fun,” Lorie said. “Ideally, and hopefully eventually, our menu will become more interactive in that aspect.”
The Piamchuntars became inspired to take this direction of global modern cuisine in large part due to their family. Both come from large families that have different tastes in flavors and options.
“We wanted a place that could accommodate everyone’s needs while adding the gourmet twist that Steve knows so well,” said Lorie.
Besides managing the restaurant, the Piamchuntars make it a point to help around the restaurant. Steve is not just the owner and executive; he and Lorie help by washing dishes, busing tables and serving food.
“We are here every night cooking, cleaning,” Steve said. “We are 100 percent hands-on. People who come here often know my name, and everyone feels welcomed.”
In addition to the food, there is also a local music scene that can be heard every Friday night. Both owners support local bands and artists and welcome them to play in their restaurant as long as it is family-friendly music. According to Lorie, their restaurant brings in a diverse crowd, from locals to tourists.
“The demographic here is so crazy vast,” Lorie said. “You have the young hipsters, the couples and 80-year-old ladies who come in here and eat by themselves.”
The owners recently hired a mixologist and are planning to launch happy hour. In addition to the food, the restaurant serves many flavors of mixed craft beers and specialty cocktails.
Starting in mid-July, the owners plan to shrink the 48-item menu and add dishes that include fresher and seasonal ingredients for the summer.
Popular items such as the Cock-A-Waffle-Doo, Sticky Bun Tacos and Dr. Pepper Ribs will stay. However, Steve plans to continue to make changes about three times a year with ingredients that fit the season.
“This menu was basically an introduction to our style and to help everybody get acclimated to what we’re doing here,” Lorie said. “I don’t want to disappoint people who come back for specific items that have been changed, but at the same time I want them to be like, what is he making next?”
Nosh & Swig’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For more information, visit noshandswig.com or call 702-456-6674.
Contact reporter Sandy Lopez at email@example.com or 702-383-4686.