The Las Vegas area restaurant community scrambled all day Monday, eager to support victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting, their families, first responders and anyone else who might need a comforting meal or snack.
Sparrow &Wolf’s Justin Hall was one of the earliest to put out the call, beginning a grass-roots campaign to connect chefs with people who could use their help as he waited in a line to give blood at about 8:30 a.m. As the day progressed, other members of the local dining community joined in, using social media to share information on who was taking donations — information that was hard to pin down, as representatives of local hospitals and first responders were busy with more immediate needs.
Undeterred, donations went out all day. Bouchon Bakery staff visited blood banks, offering snacks to the hundreds of people who waited for hours to donate a pint, with chef Thomas Keller personally reaching out to see where else he could help.
Other restaurants that stepped up, according to social media posts and reports from those close to them, include pizza spots Evel Pie, Metro Pizza and Naked City Pizza. They hit the road with pies for police stations, blood drive centers and victims’ families at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with Naked City eventually running out of dough at its Las Vegas Motor Speedway location.
Other people making runs to the Las Vegas Convention Center, according to those close to the restaurants, included off-Strip spots Tacos &Beer and Firefly, as well as Mandalay Bay’s Fleur by Hubert Keller and The Venetian’s Yardbird.
Chinatown restaurants that rose to the occasion included District One and Lee’s Sandwiches, whose employees brought food to Ronald McDonald House volunteers. Fatburger and Fat Bar on the Strip welcomed all first responders with free food. And Jessie Rae’s BBQ reportedly brought food to Valley Hospital Medical Center and The Salvation Army.
By 1:30 p.m. or so, as a dozen pizzas and several trays of cold cuts were arriving at the Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center emergency room, the staff was informing people that they’d gotten all they could handle for the time being. Instead, they asked that any restaurants who really wanted to help come back for the night shift, at 7 p.m., to feed the people who had been on duty when the injured were first brought in. Until then, however, they promised to bring deliveries upstairs to patients and staff who would appreciate it — starting with the shooting victims but likely spilling over to others who might want something other than hospital food.
Those are just a small fraction of the restaurants that responded or planned to respond. The next big push was set for 6 to 7 p.m. Several restaurants and food trucks indicated plans to visit University Medical Center, despite inconsistent reports on whether it was accepting donations. Among those planning a visit to Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center was the neighborhood Greek restaurant Meraki Greek Grill, which reportedly got some help making sandwiches from chefs from the ultra-exclusive Joel Robuchon and Le Cirque (both of which are in the MGM Resorts International family). Several others were coordinating with the Fraternal Order of Police to help officers at the site. And Black Sheep’s Jamie Tran was planning to deliver 150 breakfast sandwiches to officers Tuesday.
Given the strength of social media, and the growing number of foodies banding together to lend a hand, local restaurants appear to be ready to keep the food coming as long as there is a need.
Contact Al Mancini at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.