Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro chef and owner Mayra Trabulse has one goal: to create compassionate cuisine with a level of flavor that reflects her diverse cultural background. As she shared with Katherine Fernelius of Vegas Seven, Mayra is half Lebanese and half Cuban, and was born and raised in Mexico City. After moving to Las Vegas and attending community college, Mayra found herself unfulfilled. She decided to relocate to Florida, where she began to explore the politics of eating and her own relationship with food. She founded a catering business and became a private vegan chef before returning once more to Las Vegas to share her signature Caribbean- and Southwest-inspired dishes with Nevadans.
Mayra incorporated the Spanish phrase "pura vida" into the moniker of her eatery because it's a greeting or a farewell that can signify a sense of community and enjoying life slowly. That's exactly what she wants diners to feel at the restaurant, where she uses local, organic, fair-trade ingredients and incorporates macrobiotic, Ayurvedic, and raw-food principles in her low-temperature cooking. Mayra enhances her creations with unrefined oils and sweeteners and grinds whole spices for maximum flavor. Boasting a designated gluten-free area of her kitchen, she can cater to most any dietary restriction—Vanessa Meier of The Green Girl Next Door blog described how Mayra composed custom, on-the-fly dishes that were "beautiful and clearly prepared with so much love" for her and her husband.
And Meier isn't the only critic to take note of the blossoming restaurant: it earned Las Vegas Weekly’s 2012 Best Vegan Eating award and was named the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Dining Pick of the Week in October 2012. Mayra and her team also cater special events and bake custom vegan wedding cakes for couples being married by an Elvis wearing faux-blue-suede shoes.
Just weeks before his wedding in 2006, Vaughan Lazar sat down with his college friend Michael Gordon. They weren’t fine-tuning toasts or planning the bachelor party, but rather intently discussing what they could do to make a difference in the lives of others. After a round of brainstorming, they realized that there was a lack of organic restaurants with quick dine-in, pickup, or delivery options, and thus, Pizza Fusion was born. Their menu features pizzas with regular, multigrain, and gluten-free crusts made from scratch and crowned with local produce, free-range chicken, and vegan toppings. Wine, gluten-free beer, and all-natural soft drinks from Honest Tea and Boylan accompany salads tossed with pear and gorgonzola or sandwiches stacked with portobello mushrooms and pesto. In addition to their organic pantry, the restaurant franchise keeps the environment clean, taking measures such as supplying a fleet of hybrid delivery cars for each store, constructing LEED-certified buildings, and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset 100% of its power consumption. The pizza place is also home to the Organic Kids Club, which teaches children lessons in basic organics and rewards them with Pizza Fusion diplomas and early registration privleges for future semesters.
Despite its name, The Waterfall is no ordinary watering hole. Couches dot the interior of the laid-back bar, inviting patrons to lounge while downing pints chosen from 24 draft beers or admiring pieces by local artists. In the back, hookahs puff out fragrant smoke, adding an air of mystery to good-natured games of beer pong. The bar stays traditional where it counts, though—its liquor shelves only house top-brand vodkas, whiskeys, and bourbons, and its selection of beers draws brews from both big-name producers and innovative craft breweries. Flat-screen televisions situated above the bar also err on the side of familiarity, broadcasting television favorites such as South Park and games from around the sporting world. The Waterfall also plays host to the Reno Beer Crawl on the fourth Saturday of every month, bringing out drink specials and maps for the tour’s raucous groups of wanderers.
Born in Avellino, Italy, and raised in Brooklyn, Pasquale Ciampa and his two brothers shared a love of great fare and culture instilled in them by their parents. All three now exercise that love of Italian cuisine in their own culinary endeavors, with Pasquale bringing authentic Italian recipes to Las Vegas by way of Spaghetti and Company. Homemade beef meatballs, simmered in marinara, and freshly baked italian bread set the tone for the expansive menu, filled with Old World delicacies topped with ricotta and parmesan, alongside New World buffalo wings and New York–style pizzas and cheesecake. A rustic dining room and light-strung terrace surrounds guests as they toast with Sicilian-style pies, and kids clamor to the kitchen to craft their own masterpieces during pizza parties.
Groups whisper together in dimly lit, red-leather booths, underscored by the tinkling notes of a nearby grand piano. This isn’t the set of the latest mafia movie, but the main dining room at Capo’s Italian Steakhouse. The restaurant cheerfully embraces the city’s scandalous past, from its wood-paneled walls accented with movie posters to a menu of Italian classics sporting snap-brim fedoras and colorful names. Whether diners delve into Wise Guy alfredo by the fireplace or sample Goodfellas piccata on the patio, Capo’s atmosphere invites them to experience the mystique of old Vegas.