Updated July 31, 2020 - 12:27 pm
For restaurant owners who rely heavily on the convention trade, news that CES — the January mega-show that traditionally kicks off the convention season — would go to an all-digital format for 2021 was a painful blow.
“I was looking forward to a great start to 2021 with CES,” said Evan Glusman, general manager of Piero’s Italian Cuisine at 355 Convention Center Drive. “Unfortunately, Las Vegas will take quite a hit with the decision to move CES to an online platform.”
Glusman said he had planned to reopen his restaurant, which has been shuttered since the coronavirus shutdown, on the day after Labor Day. But then the Global Gaming Expo, scheduled for early October, was canceled.
“So it’s going to be delayed again, toward the end of the year, if not the start of ’21,” he said.
Diana Maisondieu-LaForge, owner of Pamplemousse le Restaurant at 400 E. Sahara Ave., is in a similar position.
“It’s certainly disheartening,” Maisondieu-LaForge said of the CES switch. “I was thinking of reopening in mid-September, but now I’m thinking of reopening in mid-November, to see what happens once the elections have come and gone.”
She said she has fought to stay positive.
“However, I think we know there’s a long road ahead of us,” she said. “Some of the casinos are open, but the numbers aren’t great.
“And there are still a lot of restrictions in place. It’s hard to understand, for my venue, how that would work with fine dining. It’s really difficult to have gentlemen in tuxes with masks and gloves.”
Amanda Signorelli, managing partner of the Golden Steer Steakhouse at 308 W. Sahara Ave., said the fact that she doesn’t rely as heavily on convention trade has enabled her to open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and consider another day.
“We’re definitely in the place where we’re fortunate to have a strong, loyal base, and we’re seeing other customers who aren’t tied to the conventions start to come in,” Signorelli said. “We’re seeing an increase in those travelers. Frankly, that was somewhat of a surprise for us.
“What we’re looking at now is how do we continue building this relationship with customers outside of conventions — how do we draw those visitors who maybe haven’t been to Vegas in five or 10 years?”
Glusman and Maisondieu-LaForge both own their buildings and land, so at least they don’t have to pay rent.
“It’s just a brutal situation,” Maisondieu-LaForge said. “And it’s really a sad, sad time for so many business owners.”
“We’re going to be here; we’re not going anywhere,” Glusman said. “We’ve been here 39 years. The goal is for my children to take it over one day. That’s how long I want Piero’s to be in Las Vegas.”