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Area restaurateurs expand in Las Vegas

We don’t want to spoil anybody’s appetite, but the restaurant business is getting bloody in Las Vegas — in a competitive sort of way.

Local restaurateurs like Scott Ghormley, whose family opened the first Hush Puppy on West Charleston Boulevard in 1975, and Javier Barajas, who founded Lindo Michoacan on Desert Inn Road in 1990, have stood toe to toe with national chain restaurants and watched them stumble while they’ve remained standing.

Chili’s, a brand of Brinker International, has closed four locations in the valley, including one near Centennial Hills Hospital in northwest Las Vegas, where Barajas recently opened his third Lindo Michoacan restaurant.

Ghormley is opening Rhythm Kitchen Seafood and Steak at 4635 S. Decatur Blvd. on Saturday. "We don’t have any specific key," he said. "Quality service, quality food and a personal touch, which the chains don’t have. They’re run from another state and don’t have a feel for the community. I hear it from employees there all the time."

Retail broker Scot Marker of Colliers International said landlords used to chase restaurants like Chili’s. With an increase in vacant space to fill, they’re a little more willing to talk to the little guys, he said.

"I think you’re going to see a wave of mom-and-pops opening in shopping centers they couldn’t get into before," Market said.

He recently negotiated a deal to put BJ’s Brewhouse into a center at Eastern Avenue and the Beltway.

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