Contributed by Kevin Wantland
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Tommy Bahama brought coastal flavors to a desert oasis in 2008. The restaurant has been a longtime partner and participant in the annual Las Vegas Restaurant Week — a 12-day culinary event dedicated to raising awareness for hunger and funds to support Three Square Food Bank's efforts to provide meals to Southern Nevadans in need. We reached out to Kevin Wantland, general manager of Tommy Bahama, to tell us more about his restaurant and why he and his team look forward to Restaurant Week.
For our readers who have never dined at Tommy Bahama, how would you describe to them the restaurant's atmosphere and cuisine?
Tommy Bahama is all about relaxing and enjoying life. Our restaurant is an extension of that mentality — come, relax and if you close your eyes, you can just make out the waves crashing on the beach. We have live music Wednesday through Saturday evening and our patio overlooks the park in the center of Town Square; it's a great place to people watch. As for our menu, it's coastally inspired, from the beaches of Florida, Islands of both the Caribbean and Pacific, and flavors of Asia. It has a bit of something for everyone to enjoy, but if you're going to come for one thing, it has to be the Piña Colada Cake!
How long has Tommy Bahama been participating in Las Vegas Restaurant Week?
We've been a part of Restaurant Week for nearly every year since 2010. It's been a great eight years supporting a group that directly impacts our community.
Why does Tommy Bahama continue to partner with Las Vegas Restaurant Week?
We know that every dollar we send has a direct impact on our community and every dollar is made into three meals! Last year, we were able to provide more than 10,000 meals to those in need. Knowing that, we feel that this is a great opportunity for us to give back to the city that has supported us since we opened our doors in 2008. Not to mention, this a great opportunity for guests who may not know about our restaurant to come and give us a try. And I know that once they do, they'll be back.
Tommy Bahama has earned awards for its efforts in raising funds for Three Square from Restaurant Week menu sales. Could you tell us your secret to a successful Las Vegas Restaurant Week?
It's really all about the guest. Restaurant Week gives guests an opportunity to try new restaurants and see what each place has to offer. For us, this is our time to make new fans of Tommy Bahama. We offer three different menus that showcase some of our more popular items, as well as dishes that are new to our menu. However, the heart of our success is our staff. They give our guests an experience that they will not forget and make them want to come back. Plus, when our guests see that we are participating in Restaurant Week and supporting Three Square, they come back over and over, knowing they are contributing to Three Square as well.
What appetizer, entree, or dessert on the Restaurant Week menu would you highly recommend to guests?
I would have to start with our Char-Grilled Artichokes that have been marinated in an Herbs de Provence Vinaigrette! We only have this seasonally and we honestly get phone calls asking when it's going to come back on our Daily Fresh Menu. As for entrees, it's a toss-up between the Parmesan Crusted Sanibel Chicken, which comes with a Red Pepper Cream Sauce, or the Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with a Blackberry Brandy BBQ. Both of these entrees have been on the Tommy Bahama menu since we opened our first restaurant in Naples, Florida in 1998 and have been a guest favorite ever since. For dessert, you can't go wrong with any of them. Our four perfect layers Piña Colada Cake is light and flavorful with a hint of rum - how can you go wrong? The Key Lime Pie is as good as any you'll get in Florida and you don't have to take my word for it! I've had thousands of guests tell me that over the 15 years that I've been with Tommy Bahama Restaurants. Lastly, the newcomer to our menu, Peanut Butter Pie – a salted pretzel crust, creamy peanut butter filling and layered with chocolate ganache, finished with a sprinkle of pink Hawaiian sea salt. This is one dessert you shouldn't pass over!