The Finalists Chosen for the Las Vegas Coffee Contest


Six restaurant ideas will advance to the cooking phase of a competition to open a brand new bespoke restaurant in downtown Las Vegas, competition organizers announced Tuesday.

The Las Vegas real estate agency Dapper Cos. created the challenge, dubbed “The Great Las Vegas Coffee Shop Giveaway”, to reward a chef or restaurateur with a custom-designed 3,000 square foot restaurant in the Huntridge Mall at Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, near the Huntridge Theater historical. Partner sponsors will bring the concept of the winning idea to life through furniture, fixtures, signage, branding and a marketing plan, among other materials.

J Dapper, owner of Dapper Cos., created the contest because he missed Las Vegas’ vintage restaurant scene and wanted a way to support the hospitality industry after it was hit hard by the pandemic, a- he declared.

“Over the years, every cafe in Las Vegas seems to have closed,” Dapper said. “You go to a casino and ask for a coffee and they give you directions to a Starbucks, which breaks my heart.”

More than 80 pitch decks were submitted to the competition, including some from out-of-state applicants, he said. The company originally intended to select three to five finalists, but this was expanded to six due to the number of quality ideas. Finalists were chosen based on their concepts, menus and each team’s journey.

Stacey Dougan, the chef of Simple Diner, said she and her team wanted to bring plant-based, neighborhood deli meats to the area. The team has a history of downtown revitalization – Dougan previously ran Simply Pure in Downtown Container Park and his business partner, Jenn Tramaglino, helped develop the 7th & Carson restaurant.

“I was in Vegas on and off for about 31 years,” Dougan said. “I remember partying as a teenager at the Huntridge, so just being part of this revitalization brings back a lot of nostalgia for me.”

Other candidates also wanted to highlight the region’s history. Mal Gott, an experiential designer, and Aaron Lee, sous chef at Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District, introduced Winnie and Ethel’s Downtown Diner as a tribute to the 1940s roots of the Huntridge neighborhood – where the couple live – and to their grandmothers. home cooking.

“(We’re looking for) that warmth and that welcoming feeling of just walking in and knowing that this is a place where I belong, this is my community,” Gott said. “If you think of what Vegas was like in 1944, it was really small. So to steal ‘Cheers’ everyone probably knew everyone’s name. They have to go somewhere and know that they are at home.

Each finalist team will cook for the public and for the judges for approximately one week at the Vegas Test Kitchen, choosing three to five selections that represent their concept. Judges include Dapper; Cory Harwell of Carson Kitchen and Butcher & Thief; John Simmons of Firefly, Tacos & Beer and Graze; and Marc Marrone from the Hôtellerie de Nice.

The winning concept will work with partners to build the restaurant. Partners include YESCO, AAA Bar and Restaurant Supply, The Humblewood Company, RADstudio, and Hydro Studios, among others. Dapper Cos. estimates that the project would support approximately $950,000 in goods and services.

To see the online finalist concepts:

— Random Act Diner: cooking for the public on April 1 and 2 and for the judges on April 5

— Savage Fine Diner & Tavern: Cooking for the public on April 8 and 9 and for the judges on April 12

— The Tipsy Buffalo: Cooking for the public on April 15 and 16 and for the judges on April 19

— Dinette: Kitchen for the public on April 22 and 23 and for the judges on April 26

— Simple Diner: Cooking for the public on April 29 and 30 and for the judges on May 3

— Winnie & Ethel’s Downtown Diner: cooking for the public on May 6 and 7 and for the judges on May 10

Dapper Cos. plans to announce the winner in mid-May. The restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023.

McKenna Ross is a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected] To follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.


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