Chef’s not leaving Las Vegas, thanks to Downtown Project
Chef Natalie Young was packing her bags to move back to Santa Fe, N.M. when Downtown Cocktail Room owner Michael Cornthwaite introduced her to Tony Hsieh.
Cornthwaite wanted Young to stay in Las Vegas and thought the Zappos.com chief executive might have an offer the chef couldn’t refuse.
“The first time (Hsieh) ever met me, he said, ‘What size restaurant do you want?’ ” Young said, recalling her chance encounter at Cornthwaite’s downtown lounge.
Hsieh’s downtown revitalization group, the Downtown Project, works with small businesses interested in setting up shop downtown. The group’s $50 million small-business fund invests in entrepreneurs like Young, helps them craft business plans, find space for their new ventures and research back-end services like point-of-sale systems.
The Downtown Project’s offer of help persuaded Young to stay. In September, she will open Eat, a breakfast and lunch spot on the ground floor of an apartment building at 707 Carson Ave.
Young will serve American cuisine with New Mexican influences and a bit of French flair she picked up as a chef at the Paris’ Eiffel Tower restaurant. Prime rib hash with Hatch green chilis will be a signature dish.
“Is it community-driven?” he said. “Is the person passionate about it? Do we think they can execute it? Is it sustainable? If it meets that criteria, with community and passion being the two most important, we’ll sit down and talk.”
Since the Downtown Project’s $350 million investment pool became public last year, Welch said hundreds of businesses have expressed interest in moving downtown. Welch’s team now accepts video pitches for funding and tries to respond to every submission.
Eat is the fund’s first project. Two others, a studio, and film production company, and a boutique have been signed. A handful of others are in negotiations.
Originally published on reviewjournal.com
A MUST HEAR for all business owners, entrepreneurs, and restaurant managers. Chef Nat explains how success is measured in happiness, and not through your bank account. “ The Better I do the more I can help people… The more I can help the community… The more I can...
REAL TALK - Chef Nat, Angie, and featured guest, Valerie Stunning of Paradise City Creamery talk about doing the best you can with what you have. Besides what’s happening from the outside in, don’t be afraid to talk about from the inside out. We don’t have control on...
Be thoughtful about what you say but also speak your truth. A lot of the times we are so afraid to just tell people how we really feel and what’s really going on with us when at the end of the day the only way we’re going to get to where we want to go is by sharing...