Valley natives tend to see Las Vegas — particularly the Strip — differently from the rest of the world. Born and Raised founder Scottie Godino is no exception.
Where established names — from celebrity chefs to fast-food chains — view Las Vegas Boulevard as a destination, Godino sees it as a launch pad from which to propel his homegrown, two-tavern brand Born and Raised across the country.
Born and Raised Craft Pub, tentatively set to open late this month, will serve as an embassy of sorts, introducing a national audience to a local idea that he hopes to bring to their hometowns.
“I want to go across the country and do a Hard Rock-style bar and apparel relationship,” Godino says of his dreams for the brand. “Grand Bazaar Shops is a great anchor for us. It offers exposure to a lot of people, and an opportunity to touch people from other markets.”
As a boozy Las Vegas ambassador, Godino’s credentials are in order. One of his grandfathers ran a lounge and bar in Rockford, Illinois, while the other, Andrew Zorne, ran casinos for Del Webb Corp. and Sahara Corp.
After graduating from Bishop Gorman High School in 2000, Godino attended two colleges, in South Carolina and Reno, over two years. He dropped out and returned home to follow his father into real estate.
But his childhood infatuation with his grandfathers’ entertainment careers never faded, and in 2008 he liquidated his real estate holdings to begin researching something he thought his community had lost — a true neighborhood gathering place driven by customer service instead of gaming.
The lessons he learned, and his memories of the Las Vegas of his youth, persuaded him to take an unorthodox approach when he opened the first Born and Raised on Cimarron Road in 2010 and its Eastern Avenue counterpart in 2015.
Godino says neighborhood bars in the valley are handicapped by their greatest moneymaker. “There’s 15 horses that lead the wagon, and those horses are all you care about,” he says, quoting one of Las Vegas’ leading neighborhood gaming executives with a grimace on his face. The horses his competitor refers to are the 15 video poker machines allowed under a restricted gaming license, which serve as the main revenue stream and focal point of nearly every locals’ bar in the valley.
As a result, many neighborhood pubs are populated by zombie-like patrons engulfed in the LCD glow of Deuces Wild, Double Bonus Poker or Keno, looking up only long enough to order another drink.
Not so at Born and Raised. Sure, each has its own 15-horse stable of machines. But sitting in the chic lounge area of the original locale on Cimarron Road, with its deliberately haphazard collection of funky furnishings and giant video wall, they seem light years away.
Godino estimates 60 percent of his customers come primarily for food and drinks and 40 percent for gaming — an anomaly for the local bar scene.
Patrons enjoy a creative food and cocktail menu as they gather with friends, watch a game, catch up on their lives, maybe even meet new people. All are treated like valued customers. If that sounds like a neighborhood bar in a town you used to live in, you’re not alone. Godino says it’s how bars in Las Vegas used to be.
“If you came in and had a cup of coffee,” he says of the Las Vegas of his youth, “it was waiting for you and your name was known. And if you came in and dropped $10,000, same thing. That’s the way it was back in the day. That was the norm.”
Helping re-create that atmosphere are Godino and his team, which includes family and friends who share his priorities. In addition to having his dad as a partner, his sister was the bar’s original marketing person, and his wife recently took charge of the merchandising effort.
The new Strip location will be a smaller outpost than the others, concentrating on craft beers and cocktails. With celebrity burger chain Wahlburgers and Chicago pizza spot Giordano’s nearby, they’ve decided to forgo food. But they do expect to show the most football games in the Grand Bazaar.
Looking forward, the Born and Raised team is scouting locations in downtown Las Vegas and in Summerlin. They also have sights set on Reno, followed by the Pacific Northwest and Texas. “I want to go to every major market across the country,” Godino says ambitiously, convinced he can sell old-school Las Vegas hospitality to the world.