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August 1, 2014

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B.B. King’s assistant GM Pedro Torres keeps the blues alive

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Leila Navidi

B.B. King’s assistant general manager Pedro Torres

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Few guitars are as synonymous with an artist as B.B. King's famed Lucille, a black Gibson ES-355 that the guitar maker eventually adapted into his signature model. The "other" Lucille, a blue, rum-based cocktail, can't play a lick of "Sweet Little Angel" but sounds great when paired with some fried pickles or a plate of the restaurant's ribs. The cocktail sports Don Q rum, blue curaçao (no kidding) and orange and pineapple juices. Some might say the thrill is back.

B.B. King probably has strings that have been on his guitar longer than Pedro Torres has been part of the team at B.B. King's Blues Club at The Mirage, but the Puerto Rican-born assistant general manager is making his presence felt.

"My job is to make the servers' and bartenders' jobs easier," Torres said. "I'm always running around, cracking jokes or trying to make light of the situation. … I'll tie a rib bone to their apron or put notes on their back to bring that party atmosphere, that culture that we have at all of our other clubs, here to Vegas."

Torres spent three years at the B.B. King's in Orlando, Fla., and six additional months at their new West Palm Beach, Fla., location before moving to Las Vegas a little more than a month ago.

"I grew up mainly on the East Coast — I've never even visited California, I'd never been past Texas. As far as the distance, it was kind of scary. I didn't know what to think about it, but Curtis (Peery), our general manager, said, 'I'm not going to do this if you're not coming with me.'"

So far he loves it, and despite intense competition on the Strip, he's found Las Vegas — and its visitors — loves B.B. King's, too.

"One of our mottos is 'Party people serving party people.' We try to create a party amongst ourselves before we give it to the customer. I've never been in a place where I had so much fun."

— Originally published in Las Vegas Magazine

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