GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 12, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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AS WE SEE IT… NORTH LAS VEGAS DINING, SUMMED UP IN ONE TEXTIFESTO I shouldn't care what a real estate blog says about food, but Movoto's post about America's "least appetizing cities" ranked North Las Vegas No. 3 overall and the worst for restaurants per capita (1 for every 808 residents). The list was based on dining options rather than quality, but I was still compelled to defend North Las Vegas. Not that I've ever eaten there … So, I texted Weekly foodists Brock Radke and Jim Begley for advice. Edited for length, here's what they said: > DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE Blackbird Studios owner Gina Quaranto will open a satellite gallery in the Container Park this fall. Erin Ryan: HELP. Need North Las Vegas restaurants that don't suck. Never eaten over there. All I have so far is Los Molcajetes. BRIDGING THE GAP GINA QUARANTO BY CHRISTOPHER DEVARGAS; ELLA EM'S SOUL FOOD BY BEVERLY POPPE; BLO HOOKAH BY MIKE WELLER Downtown Project invites one of its critics to open a Container Park gallery The chasm between Downtown Project and some of the Downtown community (that believes it has been steamrolled by DTP) has not exactly been a secret around town. So with DTP's Container Park set to open this fall, team members made a grand gesture and reached out to an Arts District linchpin—who happened to be a fairly vocal critic of Zappos and DTP. And Gina Quaranto said yes. The owner of Blackbird Studios on Main Street has agreed to launch a satellite gallery in the Container Park, opening this fall, where she will help organize art education programs in its neighboring Learning Center and work as a liaison between Downtown Project and the community. "The general consensus down here is that Zappos came to town saying they're going to build a community, bypassing the community that's already here," Quaranto says, adding that she knows critics, including her own friends, will feast on her decision and call her a "turncoat." "But how can we change anything from the outside? If they're willing to bridge the gap, how could I say no?" Quaranto says. "Our huge complaint has been that they're alienating the locals who were already here. If we bring a little bit of this over there, it's better for all of us." Jamie Naughton, Zappos' speaker of the house who works with Downtown Project, says reaching out to Quaranto is one of many steps DTP is taking to involve the community as much as possible. "She's community focused and well-known Downtown and can help us reach out." –Kristen Peterson For more of this story, go to A LOUNGE OF THEIR OWN Blo Hookah Bar offers a venue for the lesbian community If there's one thing Vegas can't get enough of, it's more inclusive spaces for LGBT folks. In the past few years, gay-themed events inside swanky nightclubs have become the status quo, and establishments like Bronze Café have drawn wide acclaim, but ¶ So when the lesbian-owned LGBT hookah bar, Blo, opened this past weekend during Pride, we wanted to know what the new spot had to offer. ¶ "There's publicly lesbian-run establishments have been mostly non-existent. really no place for [lesbian] women in Las Vegas," says general manager and co-owner Kris Grajeda, who also spearheaded Cream Vegas, an event production group specializing in lesbian nightlife. "There are events Jim Begley: Taqueria El Palenque, Rubalcaba's Taco Shop and La Hacienda, to start. Brock Radke: Those are holes. JB: They are. Last time I checked they're also restaurants. BR: Right, but she needs heavier ammo. … Important to note that NLV has the same small-town franchise restos as any other city with pop 200K. But still a quick freeway trip to Strip. JB: Really? And Molcajetes not a hole? BR: Jim: Shh. Erin: MRKT at Aliante, Austins at Texas Station, Waverly's at Cannery—all solid steakhouses. JB: I would pick my restaurants over yours any day. BR: Shh. Also Ella Em's Soul Food. Poke Express. I will agree with Jim on the point he's failing to make clearly: Some of the best cheap Mexican food is in NLV. JB: Brock is dead to me. BR: Ha! Viva Zapatas. Thai Basil. Prime rib and chocolate éclairs at Jerry's Nugget. Iconic. at male-owned venues, but we don't have our own place." ¶ That's changing. Grajeda is quick to add she wants all of the LGBT crowd to feel welcome at Blo, which will also host gay and 18-and-older evenings in the future (Blo is 18-plus before 10 p.m.). The lounge has a feminine touch, but not stereotypically so, and guests can catch anything from the BBC lesbian series Lip Service to RuPaul's Drag Race to a football game on one of the many flat-screen TVs. Its menu—full of "Cocks," "Hooks" and "Licks" (that's cocktails, hookah and food)—features cheeky tobacco flavors like "Fruity Booty" and "Twerk It." Tobacco not your thing? With an Internet café, oxygen bar and open mic nights in the works, Blo will offer much more than smoky entertainment –Leslie Ventura entertainment. BLO HOOKAH BAR 1725 E. Warm Springs #16, 772-0689. Sunday, Wednesday & Thursday, 6 p.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 6 p.m.-3 a.m. SEPTEMBER 12–18, 2013 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM 11_AWSI_2_20130912.indd 11 11 9/11/13 2:28 PM

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