Jimmy Maddin doesn’t believe in curses, but before he opened the Hotel California Restaurant & Cantina in Summerlin’s Boca Park this month, he did what any detail-oriented business leader would do—brought in a shaman.
If you live in Summerlin, you may have had a meal in the building that now houses Maddin’s eatery. Maybe it was when the property opened as the Mediterranean-Italian Tre Restaurant in 2003. Or perhaps it was at Hannah’s, the building’s Vietnamese-inspired next incarnation. Or maybe you remember the place as the Asian fusion restaurant Sea Stone, which barely made it a year.
That’s the thing about 1050 S. Rampart Blvd. It’s one of those structures—we’ve all seen ’em—that can’t seem to find its role in life. After witnessing the rise and fall of a few tenants, levelheaded businessfolk can be forgiven for wondering if the joint is hexed.
The original tenant built the 8,800-square-foot building in 2003. The angled roof, glass-enclosed patios and sheer size put 1050 S. Rampart several steps above most Vegas strip-mall construction, but it has never been able to sustain the business needed to pay the bills for such a large space.
Maddin knew the history of the building when he opened his cantina. Previous owners came from esteemed foodie families—including the Maccionis of New York’s Le Cirque and Hannah An of Los Angeles’ famed Crustacean—but Maddin wondered what the restaurateurs were thinking, opening yet another Italian, steak or sea food joint in a city filled with them.
Maddin has 40 years of culinary experience and worked at Caesars Palace for more than 20 years, playing every role from pantry chef to executive vice president of food and beverage. He says what the space needed was quality cooking at neighborhood prices. So when it became available earlier this year, Maddin brushed aside any concern with hexes and leaped into the erstwhile black hole.
Just in case, though, he not only fully renovated the restaurant, including a new Cigar Lounge, but also called in the shaman. (He also called in the local television stations—nothing like a little PR with your hex-busting. You’ll find a link to the video at WeeklySeven.com/Curses.)
After burning sage, the shaman told Maddin that it wasn’t evil spirits that possessed the building; it was that previous owners hadn’t asked for the correct permissions to open.
With the shaman’s blessing, Hotel California Restaurant & Cantina opened May 5 and served 7,000 people in its first weekend.