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November 23, 2014

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Counter Intelligence: Bradley Ogden, Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay

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Sam Morris

Chef Bradley Ogden talks with friends during the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting on Friday, May 11, 2012, at Caesars Palace.

Wolfgang Puck's chefs

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The 20th anniversary Sip and Savor celebration at Spago in The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

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Wolfgang Puck and Eric Klein at the 20th anniversary Sip and Savor celebration at Spago in The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

Bobby Flay at Uncork'd

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay talks with diners about the menu before a Vegas Uncork'd Master Series Dinner at the Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace Thursday May 20, 2012. STEVE MARCUS Launch slideshow »

Hot off the grill!

Celebrated chef Bradley Ogden opens his restaurant Hops and Harvest on Friday, but not on the Strip. He’s selected Tivoli Village in Summerlin for his first foray into the Las Vegas suburbs.

“Call it relaxed dining,” he told me Wednesday in the final throes of preparing to open the doors. “It’s lifestyle, organic, natural fresh food in a great, comfortable environment. It will be casual, sort of a pub featuring dishes using produce from local farmers markets. The wine list will reflect more California styles but also beers, 26 domestic on tap and others imported, beers that reflect that growing market segment.”

Since shutting his namesake restaurant at Caesars Palace, which became Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Bradley has started a new company and this year will open four more restaurants — in Houston, Menlo Park and Palo Alto near the San Francisco Bay Area and his Santa Barbara home base. His son Bryan heads an initial team of three chefs who worked at the Caesars restaurant. At Hops & Harvest, he is partnered with my friend, former Planet Hollywood President Bill Feather.

H&H, with its Midwest farm-to-table theme, has 204 seats spread through one main room, one private dining room and an outside terrace. It will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Bradley said it’s been a fast opening for him: “Just six months from when they called me. It’s a nice place — and growing. It’s very comfortable, there’s a lot of growth potential. We have a great location when you first come in, and there’s a little market there every Saturday. We’ve already talked to local farmers, and they are on board with us for the menus.

“We’re very excited to be back in Las Vegas, even though we haven’t been away that long. I’ve always liked Summerlin, and it’s better than dealing with all the corporate requirements on the Strip. These casual food environments really focus on the local clientele who deal with the Strip less and less.”

WOLF’S 20TH: More than 350 foodies, all fans of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, turned up for his Sip and Savor fundraiser celebration of his restaurant Spago’s 20th anniversary Wednesday night. It was a staggering feast of food, and champagnes and wines were poured nonstop, with proceeds benefiting Keep Memory Alive, which itself celebrated its 17th anniversary of its first dinner held at Spago.

All of Wolf’s chefs and his Las Vegas Managing Partners Tom Kaplan and David Robbins posed on the staircase for our exclusive Vegas DeLuxe photos, and Wolf promptly tweeted the shot.

NO. 2 FOR BOBBY? I am hearing strong rumors that star chef Bobby Flay will open his second Las Vegas restaurant later this year, but this time at Crystals in CityCenter. He has told his staff at Mesa Grill that he’s renewed the five-year lease there to stay through 2019. Bobby was the first celebrity chef to start the Caesars star team after Wolf opened Spago in the adjacent Forum Shops.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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