Mona Shield Payne
Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 | 12:05 a.m.
Other than founding chef Hubert Keller, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who cares more about Burger Bar than general manager Lisa Burney.
Since joining the Mandalay Place restaurant just months after its February 2004 opening, Burney has helped drive its success, as 13 minutes after opening on a Saturday morning the entire restaurant — bar seats and all — is filled.
"I wanted it to be where people of any age or any income could come and enjoy themselves," Burney said. "It's very well-priced for Vegas. It doesn't matter how much money you make."
A native of France, Burney moved to Vegas for high school, where she returned after studying hotel management in her home country. At Burger Bar, she's a regular Jane-of-all-trades, designing merchandise (convincing a skeptical Keller along the way) and aiding in the restaurant's design, in addition to the everyday duties of a GM.
Recently, when she felt the cocktail menu didn't live up to the promise of their extensive burger, beer and milkshake lists, she took it upon herself to create a new one. Her attention to detail is part of the reason guests keep coming back.
"We know our customers and they know us," she said, noting the low turnover of her waitstaff. "Somebody who comes from out of town, who came in two years ago, chances are they're going to see the same people, and I think that makes a big difference in Vegas."
— Originally published in Las Vegas Magazine