Chris Santos doesn’t take vacations. He comes to Vegas for big fight weekends.
“I’m a huge boxing fan,” says the chef and owner of some the best and coolest restaurants on New York City’s Lower East Side, including the Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex. “My grandfather was a pro fighter and I grew up watching fights on his knee. I’ve been ringside at every [Floyd] Mayweather fight since 2007, which is cool because when I was a kid all I wanted to do was watch one of the big fights in Vegas. One day, I thought, I’ll sit ringside, so I’ve been very fortunate.”
The frequent judge on Food Network’s popular competition show Chopped is spending much more time on the Strip these days—he’s opening a new Beauty & Essex this week at the Cosmopolitan, the first of a new wave of fresh dining experiences headed to the hip hotel this year. Considering Santos has been obsessed with the Cosmo since it opened—maybe not as much as he is with boxing, but close—it goes without saying that he’s excited to be staying where the action is.
“I love this hotel. I love the vibe, I love gambling here, I love the layout, I love eating at Jaleo. I always thought Beauty & Essex would be perfect for this hotel long before we were pursuing it, so this is pretty cool.”