Updated May 25, 2020 - 9:31 am
While some Las Vegas restaurant owners were quick to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, many in the tourism corridor may delay for months, as they assess conditions around them.
Evan Glusman, general manager of Piero’s Italian Cuisine at 355 Convention Center Drive, said while he hasn’t set an exact reopening date, he’s thinking of waiting until the first week of September.
Piero’s, which is near the Las Vegas Convention Center, gets a lot of its clientele from events happening there. And with several spring conventions canceled and the city going into the traditionally slow summer season, he just doesn’t think he’ll see the traffic.
“Of course, that’s a big weight” on the decision, Glusman said. “I don’t know what the landscape really looks like.”
Diana Maisondieu-LaForge, owner of Pamplemousse at 400 E. Sahara Ave., is in a similar situation.
“Quite frankly, I’m probably looking at September,” Maisondieu-LaForge said. “I’m waiting to see, once the casinos open and the convention center. I’m hoping it’ll be earlier than that, but I’m waiting for some visitors to get back and things to get bustling.”
She said she was somewhat encouraged by the news that Wynn Las Vegas plans to open five restaurants May 29 but remains cautious.
“Bravo,” she said. “It’s almost like the floodgates have opened. But I’m still hesitant because we’re in brand-new territory.”
Amanda Signorelli, managing partner of Golden Steer Steakhouse across the Strip at 308 W. Sahara Ave., said the restaurant’s management team hasn’t settled on a date but probably will by the beginning of the week.
“After June 1 but sooner than September,” Signorelli said. “We’re watching closely the movements of the casinos — what they’re reopening and when they’re reopening them.”
She, too, said she was somewhat heartened by the Wynn decision.
“I’m happy to see there’s going to be increased movement and people coming in, especially on the north end of the Strip,” Signorelli said.
As both are venerable institutions — the Golden Steer dates to 1958, Pamplemousse to 1976 — they’ve built loyal followings, and Signorelli and Maisondieu-LaForge both said their restaurants have been contacted by customers, both local and not, inquiring about reopening.
One longtime Strip landmark that decided not to wait is the Peppermill, which reopened its dining room Friday. Peggy Orth, who’s been working at the 49-year-old restaurant for 47 years and managing it for 34, said she was ready.
“It was fabulous; it was perfect,” she said Friday. “We did really well.”
She said they served about 250 customers between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
“Normally it would be about 500, but you know what? First day open after being closed and the whole town was closed, I’ll take that,” she said.
Orth said as soon as Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the OK for opening under certain guidelines, she heard from the owner in Reno.
“My boss called me and said, ‘Are you ready?’ ” she said. “I said, ‘We’re ready; we’ve been doing nothing but cleaning top to bottom.’ ” Since the restaurant’s booths are stationary, she said, they installed 4-foot-high plexiglass panels on the dividers between them.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, she said, and while the legendary lounge hasn’t reopened, cocktails are served in the coffee shop.
At Piero’s, Glusman said he’s contacted some regular clients, including SEMA, which is scheduled for early November.
“We are getting some traction there, which is nice,” he said. “We are getting a lot of traction for CES,” the mammoth electronics show that’s held every January. He’s also reached out to a French company that rents their parking lot for five days during CES.
“I’m watching the news in France as much as here,” Glusman said.
And they just took a deposit for the World of Concrete, which will be in late January.
Considering that December was their busiest December ever, January was their busiest month ever and February was the second-busiest month, this spring has been a bit of a shock.
“I’ve looked at other markets,” Glusman said. “I think there’s such pent-up energy. People want to get out.
“We’re not going anywhere. We’ve been here since ’82; we’ve survived.”