Monday, July 29, 2013 | 4:59 p.m.
Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach winds down his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy and heads to the East Coast for a brief visit before returning to the rigors of Vegas DeLuxe, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Luigi Maione, general manager of Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York.
Hi, everyone! This is Luigi Maione, general manager of Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York. Although my five months here might seem like a short time, when you work in a place so full of history with a staff that includes 19 day-one employees and you tell its stories daily, it can feel as though you have lived them all yourself.
Here at Nine Fine Irishmen, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary the entire month of July, and I truly believe that there’s no better way to honor this landmark occasion than for me to tell the tale behind the restaurant and share the stories that my staff have experienced through the years.
Let’s start from the beginning.
The name Nine Fine Irishmen was inspired by nine Irish rebels whose fight for freedom resulted in their exile to an island off the coast of Australia. After escaping to the United States and Canada, these men went on to make names for themselves, becoming authors, war heroes and even a prime minister. We embrace the spirit of these men in everything from our authentic cuisine, friendly staff and Irish melodies to the fibers that compose the walls of the restaurant.
Many people don’t know that Nine Fine Irishmen was built in Ireland, disassembled, shipped to New York-New York and reconstructed inside the hotel, bringing with it authentic Irish craftsmanship as well as that infectious Irish spirit. Over the past decade, this spirit has drawn locals and tourists alike.
Without question, our craziest day of the year is St. Patrick’s Day. It has gotten to the point where we now have a semi full of kegs of Guinness parked out back so that we will be stocked for our St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Feis, where leprechauns and kilts are visible at every turn.
However, it’s the everyday interactions with guests that are the most memorable.
We once had two co-ed friends in town for business visit our pub. The woman was having challenges in her relationship, and her friend, who believed her current match wasn’t right for her, persuaded her to remove her engagement ring and place it in a vase behind Table 22. One year later, they returned for the same convention and came to see if the ring was still there. When the woman found the ring in the vase, the friend revealed that he believed that if the ring remained upon their return, they were meant to be together. The two friends were soon married and still return to see us each year.
Perhaps the tradition we are most proud of is our St. Baldrick’s event. Every year, kind hearts from Las Vegas and beyond donate time, money and their hair to help raise funds for the childhood cancer foundation. This sense of community is exactly what the Irish spirit is all about.
For 10 years, we’ve enjoyed tasty food, delicious beer and wonderful people. It has been said, “Anyone who would build a pub in Ireland, ship it to America and install it in the heart of the Strip must be either a fool or a bleedin’ genius.” We’ve made it 10 years, so I think it’s safe to say the latter.
Here’s a cheers to 10 more!
Check out our other guest columns today from the cast of “Fantasy” at the Luxor and Justin Spencer of the Quad headliners Recycled Percussion, and on Tuesday from comedy magician and Harrah’s headliner Mac King and chef Shawn McClain of Sage and the new Five50 Pizza Bar, both at Aria.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.