Q&A With Guy Fieri: What’s On The Menu For His Las Vegas Restaurant
Guy Fieri’s upcoming restaurant at The Quad may not be a diner, drive-in or dive, but it will have all the familiar touches of everyone’s favorite fun-loving culinary personality. Set to debut in late April, the famous UNLV grad wants Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar to be a comfortable “home away from home” on the Strip with a mix of gastronomic genres. Fieri recently spoke to me about the menu of all-new dishes (!), the story behind his renowned Vegas Fries and summer grilling tips.
Can you tell us anything about specific menu items that you’re excited to serve?
It’s going to have a mix from Asian to Mexican to Italian to American. We’re doing everything from a pulled pork taco to a slider to General Tso lollipop chicken wings. So it’s eclectic food in a high energy environment. And of course specialties like really cold beer and a shot bar with a Bloody Mary brunch. Most people get up in Vegas around noon and their palette says “I want the basics.”
You have some pretty famous signatures in your other restaurants. Are you bringing those to Vegas or creating a brand new menu specifically exclusive for this restaurant?
This is almost 100 percent original. Even the things that have been old school staples in my repertoire have gotten another spin. It’s that old saying “you play better on a better team.” I anticipated my kids being born, I anticipated my first restaurant, but the anticipation I have for this opening is really on a different level.
In the spirit
Vegas is also notable right now for its cool mixology and specialty cocktails that are very trendy. What’s your plan for the libations?
We want to break down the barrier of what people think of mixology and cocktails. Having a really effervescent bar team is important. On top of the cold shot bar, we will have a specialty cocktail menu and a nice wine selection from Sonoma County, where I’m from. The thing is I don’t like my shots strained and I don’t like them mixed with ice, because they get diluted. I would rather drink everything straight up. So we are going to have 20 different shots that come out of iced dispensers.
Eye on design
Can you talk about the detail in the restaurant’s atmosphere and vibe?
The first time we started to design restaurants with this group, Nemeth Design, the first thing I said to the designer was come to my house. I showed her the kitchen, which is the main part of my house, and I told her I like wood, tile, metal, rough and natural textures.
There are so many restaurants in Vegas and I know yours will have a special Guy Fieri flavor, but how do you plan to differentiate it from everything else out there?
This is going to be your favorite place to hang out and the most natural-feeling environment. We’re taking everything to the next level, with a fun, upbeat, non-typical Vegas style.
A random fury of Fieri
What’s the story behind the Vegas Fries?
When I went to UNLV there was a place called the Stake Out. I went there from the time I was 18 until 21, but I paid my own way through college and I didn’t have any money. So I would go to the Stake Out and you could buy a basket of fries for a dollar. They were these big steak fries and I would get them cooked to death. They would toss them in wing sauce for free and to buy blue cheese was a quarter. So for $1.25 I could get a big, hot, smoldering basket of fries, super crunchy and crispy. So in my restaurants we’ve been doing Vegas Fries forever. Everyone loves them.
How is this restaurant a reflection of you?
I’m so not into tablecloths. I came from fancy restaurants, but I always knew who I wanted to be and how I want to cook. I wanted to wear jeans, shorts, tennis shoes or flip flops. I like an open kitchen, I like people seeing what’s going on. This experience is really how I like to live. It’s tremendous attention to detail in the food and responsibility in the service but in a cool, casual, non-pretentious environment.
Any summer grilling tips?
The thing I recommend to everybody is that the best type of grilling is with charcoal and wood. There’s something about the radiant heat, the temperate level and the flavor you get with charcoal. The food tastes different. The best thing you can own in your barbecue arsenal is a chimney. The other thing is brining, which people don’t know a lot about. Even if you put 15 minutes of brine on something, it improves the flavor. And tin foil is your barbecue friend.
Are you visiting any of your favorite haunts while you’re here on this trip? Four Kegs for Stromboli?
We should all road trip to Four Kegs and get some ‘boli! And also go to Forte, the east European-Russian restaurant.