Marc Marrone’s face is one of the most recognizable in the Strip’s culinary scene. As corporate chef for the Tao Group, he’s the man behind the food at Tao and Lavo as well as Marquee Dayclub and Tao Beach.
As a Golden Knights fan, he’s a familiar sight at most home games at T-Mobile Arena. But even if you know his face, you might have been surprised to see him slinging cheeseburgers or kung pao chicken bao buns from a concession kiosk at the Fortress in late March.
Get used to it. Graffiti Bao will be the first of three off-Strip restaurant concepts Marrone is assembling, set to open at Buffalo Drive and Warm Springs Road in late spring or early summer in addition to the T-Mobile concession. The concept was inspired by street food the 33-year-old chef loved while traveling through Vietnam, China and Singapore—a menu of dim sum, dumplings and noodles made by hand.
“I really want to bridge the gap for people who haven’t had the opportunity to travel the way I have, show them a fun and cool dining experience that makes some of these things more recognizable and presents Asian food so it’s not as intimidating as it may seem,” he says.
Marrone snagged his corporate gig at Tao at the age of 25 and made the most of his long tenure with the global hospitality brand, opening major projects in Las Vegas, LA and Singapore. Every time he thought he was ready to strike out on his own, another educational opportunity would present itself. “It was the same job, but it just kept teaching me and teaching me,” he says. “Everything kind of lined up for this moment.”
After Graffiti Bao is up and running, Marrone will shift his attention to a 250-seat rooftop restaurant at the former Downtown post office building at 201 Las Vegas Blvd. S., and then a pasta-focused Italian eatery at the Bend development near Ikea.