Las Vegas Grille puts new spin on barbecue preparation

Hickory-smoked meats —- been there. Mesquite-smoked meats —- done that. Apple and white oak pecan —- now you’re talking.

The Las Vegas Grille, 7865 W. Sahara Ave., likes to say it has “a new view on barbecue.” The 2,280-square-foot eatery with indoor seating for 60 contains the smoker and a menu that’s heavy on meat, bought by the pound or the piece.

The eatery’s three partners —- Phil Holec, David Redmond and Chris McMahon —- have created a casual atmosphere for their restaurant. But that casual attitude belies their hallmark, basing everything on quality meats.

Why no M esquite or hickory wood?

“When I develop a recipe, I like to find a wood to use that also enhances it,” Holec said.

It s menu takes a new approach to meat —- sausages and meatballs made from turkey and chicken, not just pork. Salmon is smoked for salads and sandwiches, and those in meat denial can check out the smoky grilled vegetable sandwich.

The three partners said they originally planned to open a place once the economy was revitalized, but the prime location became available, so they jumped at it.

“People are still going out to eat regularly, but they are being a bit more frugal, so if you have a price point that works for them, you’re going to be able to survive the economy,” McMahon said.

There are ribs, beef sirloin, herb-crusted pork loin and barbecued chicken. There are almost a dozen sausages, including Italian fennel sausage, k ielbasa Polska, Mediterranean sun-dried tomato and salmon seafood sausage. The menu will be changing as they tweak things. All the sausages are made in-house, which is not a common practice.

Doing it by hand instead of ordering it from a processing house means the partners can control the ingredients. There is no MSG, no preservatives and no nitrates or excess fat.

The meatballs are made in-house and come in various styles, with sauces and condiments for each style. They come in “taster” size (three meatballs) all the way up to a “full trough” (24). Salads can be vegetarian-style or loaded up with meat.

Sides are made from scratch and include Bavarian potato salad, braised red cabbage and herb-roasted potatoes. If it’s not a recipe developed with family, then it’s one cooked up by one of the partners. All three have extensive culinary backgrounds.

Holec’s family is of European descent, where gathering in the kitchen to cook was a family activity.

“I started helping my mother in the kitchen when I was 3,” he said.

He brings to the table five years of commercial cooking experience and 10 years experience as a private chef and caterer.

Redmond has 25 years commercial cooking experience and holds a degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. For the last nine years, he was a partner in the catering business Holec established. The others call him “The Dessert Man.”

“I like baking things,” he said. “I make a really good creme brulee.”

McMahon has a business management degree from the University of Notre Dame.

He also has an a ssociate degree in culinary arts and hospitality from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He has seven years of restaurant experience.

The Las Vegas G rille is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily .

For more information, call 998-0719 or visit

Contact Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at or 387-2949.

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