Chef Nicole Brisson prepares to open Park MGM’s Italian marketplace, Eataly

Chef Nicole Brisson

Until five months ago, Nicole Brisson was running all the B&B Hospitality Group restaurants in Las Vegas—a gig that no one would dare call easy. And yet, compared to her new position as Executive Director at Eataly, a 40,000-square-foot, open-market space with multiple dining destinations, her former gig might seem like a snap. After B&B’s Vegas restaurants shuttered in July, Brisson accepted a position at the soon-to-open Eataly at Park MGM. For the Italian chef, the stars had aligned.

“It actually made me quite prepared,” Brisson says of her experience at B&B, “because I really had to get better at multitasking. It mentally prepared me for the size of Eataly.”

Eataly, which also has locations in Italy, Japan, Sweden, New York City and Chicago, is a culinary marketplace unlike any other—think Whole Foods on Italian steroids—complete with different retail areas focused on wine, pasta, cheese, cured meats, Italian desserts, housewares and more. Brisson’s vast knowledge of Italian cuisine and experience in Vegas’ culinary industry (she’s on the Southern Nevada Health District’s board of directors) makes her ideal for the position.

“I really want it to be a game-changer for Vegas,” Brisson says, adding that Eataly’s opening comes at a prime time. “We’re going to educate Vegas with all these great foods we’re bringing.” Want to do Eataly like a pro? Explore the markets and different “restaurantinis,” then grab a slice of pizza and a scoop of gelato to really feel like “you’re walking the streets of Italy,” Brisson says. “It’s all-encompassing of everything I love.”

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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