Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 | 2 a.m.
TV star chef Giada De Laurentiis has been spending a lot of time in Las Vegas since she opened her very first restaurant at the Cromwell on the Strip more than three years ago. She was back in town Saturday for an extra special occasion — Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 34th annual Black & White Ball at Wynn Las Vegas, where she was honored as “Woman of the Year” for her achievements and dedication to charitable causes.
“First of all, I’m following some pretty unbelievable women, talented women, and that’s No. 1 on the list. To have my name next to legends like Priscilla Presley and Marie Osmond is unbelievable, and to be the first female chef to do this is a pretty spectacular honor,” De Laurentiis said from the red carpet before the event. “Honestly, I think I’ve lived in a little bit of a bubble since I opened Giada. I come to Vegas and spend all my time at the restaurant and don’t really socialize with a lot of people, so this is an opportunity — now that I have two places in Las Vegas — to start to get to know people. It’s important.”
The connection to NBT, one of the cornerstones of local arts and culture, strengthens De Laurentiis’ relationship with Las Vegas, but her new restaurant Pronto helps, too. Her second eatery opens on Monday, Feb. 5, with a grand opening planned for Feb. 10.
“I wanted Pronto to be more casual and even more fun, not that Giada is stuffy, but it is fine dining,” she said. “We knocked down all those walls and opened up the space to make it bright and warm like a cup of sunshine when you first wake up. I wanted the design to be young and modern, bright and happy, but still Italian.”
Whereas Giada is a full-service dining destination, Pronto will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a quick, grab-and-go format, focusing on pressed paninis, salads, pastries and rich coffee with a cozy wine bar. “I think we hit a home run,” she said of the space that used to be Payard Patisserie and Bistro, near Caesars’ popular Bacchanal Buffet. “I think the gelato will be a favorite, and the antipasti at the wine bar, because you can’t really find that anywhere else. And the pressed Panini, though I don’t know which one. It’s always hard to guess which item is going to be the one people talk about.”