September 28, 2018 - 3:56 pm
Entrepreneur Sarah Camarota, a partner in three restaurants on the Strip, an independent hospitality consultant and busy mother of two young boys, is one of Las Vegas’ leading foodie influencers living and working in Summerlin. As hospitality experience curator for the new Las Vegas Ballpark under construction in the Downtown Summerlin area and future home of the Las Vegas 51s, Camarota is not only living her dream of contributing to what will become a major community asset for Southern Nevada, but she and her family are enjoying life in Summerlin, taking full advantage of the community’s hallmark lifestyle.
Camarota was brought on earlier this year by The Howard Hughes Corp., owner of the Las Vegas 51s and developer of Las Vegas Ballpark, to create vibrant food and drink experiences at the new stadium, and she has been working to differentiate Las Vegas Ballpark and its signature “food story” ever since.
“We’re determined to make the hospitality experience at Las Vegas Ballpark truly special for fans. This is about more than just a baseball game or who wins and loses. It’s about bonding with our kids, having fun with our friends, making memories that last a lifetime. And while beer and hot dogs will be ‘best in class’ at the new Las Vegas Ballpark, we’re also going to cover the bases for our fans and make sure we’re on trend with current taste and culture.”
Camarota’s Summerlin story began almost a decade ago in Chicago, when she and husband, Richard, were newlyweds living in downtown Chicago, both with dynamic careers in the restaurant business. Sarah had just landed her dream job working as executive director of experience design for Levy Restaurants, a Chicago-based sports and entertainment hospitality firm. Richard had been working with James Beard Award winner Shawn McClain and was offered the position of executive chef at Sage, a fine dining restaurant at Aria. The couple decided to take a leap of faith and moved to Las Vegas in 2009. Their first son, James, was born just a few weeks after Aria opened.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I’d be raising my family and building my career in Las Vegas,” Camarota said. “When we came here, it was for a ‘two-year adventure,’ but the quality of life we found in Summerlin is just unparalleled. This is home.”
Camarota, who was passionate about her career, continued to work remotely for Levy as a new mom in what she describes as “the polar opposite of my former life” as a city girl in Chicago.
“It was 2009. The economy had collapsed before our eyes. Las Vegas was ground zero for the recession. I was a new work-from-home mom, and I knew no one. I guess you could call it character-building,” she said.
Fortunately, the couple landed their first home in Summerlin.
“I found my places and my people. Being in this area really grounded me during that period in our lives.”
And, just as she considered a new role that could have brought them back to Chicago, the “opportunity of a lifetime” came about.
In 2013, the couple and their longtime partner, McClain, created and launched in partnership with MGM Resorts International one of the most successful and celebrated pizza spots on the Strip, Five50 Pizza Bar. The couple’s second son, Evan, was born just two weeks later.
“Suddenly, we were a family of four, with stakes in two restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. That pretty much sealed our fate. We were here for good.”
Meanwhile, Camarota thrived in her role with Levy Restaurants, focusing on the company’s West Coast venues. She played an integral role in the experiential development of food and beverage at T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights, bringing in world-renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim to develop an industry-leading “mixology for the masses” program that has resulted in record-breaking sales at the venue. Next up for the couple was Libertine Social, a next-generation gastro pub at Mandalay Bay, which was developed and launched again with husband Richard; the couple’s partner, McClain; and Las Vegas-based cocktail genius Abou-Ganim, who also lives in Summerlin.
As T-Mobile Arena was taking off, Camarota and her family moved into their second home in Summerlin at Esperanza by Lennar Homes in a cozy cul-de-sac in the Paseos village. The couple chose the location for its proximity to nearby parks, including The Paseos Park and the adventure-and climbing-themed Fox Hill Park, which their boys love. But most importantly, the couple chose their new home based on its proximity to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where the family loves to hike and go on nature walks. And most nights, the Camarotas enjoy their own version of “happy hour” watching the sunset from their backyard with a glass of wine in hand.
Appreciative of the area’s many fitness offerings, Camarota and her family enjoy Lifetime Athletic, while Camarota frequents classes at TruFusion. The family also enjoys spending time at Downtown Summerlin, where they often dine at Wolfgang Puck Bar &Grill and take in Sunday brunch at Andiron. James attends Alexander Dawson, one of several private schools in the community; and Evan is at pre-K at Temple Beth Shalom. A baseball lover, Evan plays in the Summerlin South Little League, which Camarota says does a great job instilling sportsmanship, teamwork and a love of baseball in the kids.
“In any capacity, I wanted to contribute to how Las Vegas Ballpark comes to life. Las Vegas as a market, and Summerlin in particular, are unique and cannot be compared to other Triple-A cities,” Camarota said. “People travel from around the world to experience the Las Vegas Strip, but for those who live here, it’s the playground in our backyard. The expectation for a fan experience is exponentially higher than just about anywhere else on the planet.”