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August 23, 2014

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Photo of Jack Houston

Jack Houston

Jack was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia and joined the Las Vegas Magazine staff in 2006. He's known for his quick wit, vast musical knowledge and omnipresent five o'clock shadow, and loves cookies, adverbs and Philly sports. He's a Taurus but has been called a Cancer by 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair.

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Story Archive

Master sake sommelier Yuji Matsumoto brings talents to Kabuki
Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010
It's a beverage found on the menu of every Japanese restaurant, yet why are Americans so hesitant to order sake?
Billy O'Rourke gets into the tequila spirit with Ambhar
Monday, July 26, 2010
Before getting into the spirits business, Billy O'Rourke's experiences with tequila were not unlike those of your typical college student—which is to say, not the most memorable. But after moving to Cancún and meeting Don Julio Jr. (son of the Don Julio), the Minneapolis native's attitude changed, and he left the telecom industry behind to devote his efforts full-time to Ambhar tequila.
Wet Republic model server Natalie Gross turns up the heat
Sunday, July 11, 2010
On the list of job application processes on the Las Vegas Strip, model server at a pool club has to rank as one of the most nerve-wracking of them all.
Summer pools keep Alex Mendonsa on the go
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Growing up in Orange County, Alex Mendonsa was never too far from some of the top surfing beaches in the world.
James Madders brings European flair to Azure
Sunday, June 27, 2010
In his hometown of Brighton, England, James Madders was something of a teenage savant in the nightlife industry.
Craftsteak's assistant GM Jessica Aiken strives for excellence
Sunday, June 20, 2010
It was 13 years ago when Jessica Aiken first joined the MGM Grand family as a member of the hotel operations team. Now, as assistant general manager of Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, she helps run one of the Strip's most respected steakhouses.
New Ghostbar director Mike Diamond heightens senses with Snitch
Sunday, June 13, 2010
For Australian-born Mike Diamond, the chance to revitalize one of the Palms' towering nightspots was less about furthering his own career and more about giving Las Vegas a unique party night.
Pure VIP manager Brandon Ring keeps every line open
Sunday, June 6, 2010
"It's my Monday," says Brandon Ring on a Friday afternoon, and that just about sums up the late-is-early, work-is-play world of a VIP services manager.
Hussong's Cantina owner Scott Frost is a true giant of the industry
Sunday, May 30, 2010
When Scott Frost started Titan Nightlife Group in 2006, his goal was to attach his company to brands that could transport themselves outside of Las Vegas. With Ensenada landmark Hussong's Cantina, he found a restaurant whose marketing potential could drive a global business model.
M Resort's new pool director Jeff Kenkel is a DayDream believer
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Summer is less than a month away, but the beach bodies are already out at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard.
It's always game time for Marc Zakin, Lagasse's Stadium's GM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Name a job in the food and beverage industry and Marc Zakin has done it.
StripSteak bartender Amanda Gager is a cocktail connoisseur
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Amanda Gager was caramelizing raw sugar on the rim of a martini glass when the clouds parted, the light shone down and bartending became something more than what it had been previously - mainly watching regulars sign over their paychecks for a few free beers and the chance at video-poker fortune.
Tao's director of VIP services reaches nightlife nirvana
Sunday, May 2, 2010
If an unassuming bartender comes up to you, the owner of a failing club (now-shuttered), and promises he can bring in more people than the usual 60 on a Saturday night and asks for half the take at the door for his troubles, don't take him lightly.
Chris Moonen follows father into restaurant industry
Sunday, April 25, 2010
When Chris Moonen stepped off the plane last December, he couldn't have imagined what lay in store for him in Las Vegas. He had just spent the last year in South Korea, and prior to that, two years as a middle school teacher in Boston.
Stylist Sharleen Andrade helps brighten Color
Sunday, April 18, 2010
When Sharleen Andrade met her future boss Michael Boychuck for the first time, she didn't have an appointment, but she did have her resume.
B.B. King's assistant GM Pedro Torres keeps the blues alive
Monday, April 12, 2010
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.
Checking in on Matt Minichino, the Hard Rock Hotel's nightlife mogul
Monday, April 5, 2010
You may have seen the Hard Rock Hotel's director of nightlife operations before - just not perhaps in the most flattering light. New York native Matt Minichino was portrayed as the irascible pool manager in truTV's reality series "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel."
Yuliya Kamenshchuk talks cocktailing in Eve
Monday, March 29, 2010
There are shafts of natural light shining through the windows of Eve nightclub on a gorgeous afternoon in the middle of March, and in a sense it's the perfect complement to cocktail server Yuliya Kamenshchuk, a native of Odessa, Ukraine, who moved stateside seven years ago.
Joel Robuchon's wine director spills the grapes
Sunday, March 21, 2010
When Harley Carbery took over the wine program at Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand more than year ago, one of his first moves was to change the pricing structure of the menu, bringing every single item down in price.
Going south of the border with Stephanie Peck
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Men of the world, look out. Stephanie Peck is one of those bartenders Las Vegas is famous for - attractive and outgoing, with that ace in the hole that has jaws dropping and tongues spilling out like Jim Carrey in The Mask. Peck digs sports.
Shane Monaco talks The Light Group's newest restaurant
Sunday, March 7, 2010
When The Light Group opened its sixth Las Vegas restaurant in December, it needed to look no further than its own ranks to find Shane Monaco, who became director of operations for the new Union Restaurant and Lounge at Aria.
Dani Della Valle sets tone for rocker's Vegas party
Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010
Sammy Hagar got the party started at Cabo Wabo Cantina, but Dani Della Valle keeps it going day and night as the Strip-side venue's bar and entertainment manager. A proud Jersey girl, Della Valle moved to Las Vegas to pursue dance at UNLV and got caught up in the city's nightlife scene. She made the jump to Cabo Wabo for its December opening.
Playboy Club's Rico Romano talks life among Bunnies
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010
Before it closed in 1986, the Chicago Playboy Club was a focal point for kids like Rico Romano, who gazed up at the famous logo on the side of 1960 North Lincoln Park West knowing that, even if he were of age, he probably would never see the inside of the exclusive bunny den.
Pass the Mic: Elissa Sawaya spices up T and T's Mischieve Wednesdays
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010
Growing up, she dreamed of being a circus clown, but anyone who's seen Elissa Sawaya in person knows that ringmaster would be a much more appropriate way to make a living.
Master planner
Cupid's arrows point to Andrea Eppolito
Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010
Andrea Eppolito knows firsthand how romantic Innovative Dining Group's Las Vegas restaurants can be: The New York native met her current boyfriend during a dinner at Boa Steakhouse five years ago.
For those about to rock...
Shelly Alexander salutes you
Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010
We can't speak in the actual club because a band is soundchecking - yes, a real, live band, something that has become a rarity in most nightspots these days thanks to the unsubstantiated notion that only hip-hop and bottle service will cut it anymore.
Lofty libations
Melody Sheppard rises to challenge at Mandarin Bar
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010
Sophisticated is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, especially when it comes to bars and nightclubs. But the difference between a tuxedo T-shirt and clip-on bow tie and the real deal always makes itself apparent sooner or later. In the case of Mandarin Bar, it's tailor-made, designer-brand sophistication all the way.
Spray savant
Terry Hunter gives the gift of golden glow
Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010
He's been a dancer onstage in Las Vegas and a manicurist by trade, but what Terry Hunter really wanted to do was spray tan.
Rock rules
Inside the Strip's rowdy party with Melinda Lee
Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010
You may have seen, or at least heard, a small club while walking the Las Vegas Strip at night - bumpin' music, line out the door, packed inside - and wondered what was going on in that place called Rockhouse. Cocktail waitress Melinda Lee let us in on the action.
Right-Hand Man
Q-Juan Taylor a key player in rock ’n’ roll chef’s empire
Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010
It's no accident that Sunday brunch at Simon has become the place to see and be seen in Las Vegas. Chef Kerry Simon's menu paired with the posh digs — a sixth-floor perch overlooking a secluded pool deck at Palms Place — would be enough to draw most people, but there's a secret weapon, too: general manager Q-Juan Taylor.
Get connected
Richard Wilk, VIP incarnate
Monday, Jan. 4, 2010
What is it about Richard Wilk that makes him one of the most connected people in Las Vegas? Is it his background protecting high-level politicians? Is it his employment at one of the coolest hotels in the city? Is it something in the water in his native Toronto? To hear him tell it, it's a lot simpler than that.
Raising the Bar
Yellowtail’s Kat Gonzales knows her cocktails
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010
When it comes to discussing the cocktail list at Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at Bellagio, bartender Kat Gonzales does not hold back.
Going gourmet
Las Vegas native bets on upscale burgers
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010
For Billy Richardson, it all comes down to burgers.
Acting Naturally
Come and knock on Mike Cardella’s door
Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010
Mike Cardella leads a double life. On the weekends, he's the N9NE Group's door host, ushering in the hottest of the hot to Palms nightspots like Rain and Ghostbar. The rest of the week he's in L.A. plotting his next acting venture, or in Las Vegas starring in his two-man improv show, The Last Men on Earth, at the Onyx Theatre. It's not the life of your everyday door host, to be sure.
Get Filled In
Expert needlework from Stephanie Canosa
Friday, Jan. 1, 2010
Stephanie Canosa has a needle and she's not afraid to use it. A registered clinical assistant and one of only two collagen-therapy specialists in Nevada, Canosa makes the men and women of Las Vegas look a little better and a little younger. Years spent working under top plastic surgeons and dermatologists proved she had a particular knack for injecting some of the city's top faces.
Artful Insights
Sarah Johnson takes visitors beyond the wall text
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009
Las Vegas is about to get a long-overdue infusion of culture, and it's up to Sarah Johnson to spread the word. The assistant manager of the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, where '12+7: Artists and Architects of CityCenter' is on display through April, Johnson spends her time educating school groups about the importance of the soon-to-open complex, which counts Frank Stella and Helmut Jahn among its contributors.
Grille Master
Mark Bradley lends an ear - and some mighty fine drinks
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009
Bartender Mark Bradley arrived in Las Vegas in 1992 at the height of the construction boom that turned the Strip into an international destination. (Good thing, too, since Bradley dabbles in real estate investment on the side.) However, the best property, as Bradley explains, is behind the bar at The Capital Grille at Fashion Show.
Making additions
Prema Zombori adds locks (and awards) to career
Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009
When Hairdreams was looking to name its Top Extension Specialist in Las Vegas for 2009, there was plenty of competition. After all, Las Vegas is a city that thrives on cultivating an image, whether naturally or unnaturally, and sometimes a short do just won't ... do. The hair-extension brand looked no further than Prema Zombori, a stylist at Michael Boychuck's AMP Salon in Palms.
Behind the glass
Exhibition kitchens no biggie for First Food's Jake Mual
Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009
If you're ever passing by First Food & Bar inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo, take a look at who's in the exhibition kitchen. Jake Mual just might be in there whipping up a batch of tuna nachos or a lobster roll, and you can watch the French Culinary Institute-trained chef at work. With eyes on him, the pressure's on, but he takes it in stride.
Beverage guru
Paul Peterson talks classic cocktails, French wine
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009
It's 3 p.m. and the lights are dimming as the oyster bar and cocktails crowd filters into Bouchon, Thomas Keller's French bistro perched on the 10th floor of The Venetian.
The matchmaker
Going grape with wine sommelier Krista Rediske
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009
After a peripatetic childhood that took her from Louisville to Houston to Iowa following her father, "a bigwig with KFC," Krista Rediske is back where it all began in Las Vegas, sharing her knowledge of wine as head sommelier at Rao's inside Caesars Palace.
Tommy's boy
Arturo Coronel gets in the island spirit
Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009
Sitting just off the patio at Tommy Bahama's Restaurant and Bar, a light breeze wafting through in the late afternoon sunlight, you see why Arturo Coronel has such affection for the island-inspired brand.

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