If you think a casino in the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard seems like an odd location for a restaurant called Off the Strip, you’re not alone. But as Tom Goldsbury and I chat just across the way from his new restaurant, slated to open December 24 in the Linq’s shopping promenade, he makes it sound logical. “If I’m standing here, and you ask me where the Strip is, I’m gonna point that way,” he says. More importantly, the restaurant is an extension of his Southern Highlands spot of the same name, which he opened with his brother, Al Hubbard. The pair always dreamed of bringing their concept to a Strip hotel. Unfortunately, Hubbard died four years ago. But Goldsbury is about to realize their vision.
After operating a restaurant together in New York, Goldsbury and Hubbard moved to Las Vegas 30 years ago. Both worked at various Strip locations over the years: Goldsbury tended bar at Smith & Wollensky for a decade, and Hubbard worked as a chef at the Luxor, MGM Grand and Imperial Palace. In 2007, they decided it was time to go into business for themselves again, and the next year opened a casual Italian/American restaurant in Southern Highlands.
Off the Strip was a hit with locals and—surprisingly—tourists. The latter were the ones who originally planted the seeds of expansion. “We had a huge international following because of a stellar Trip Advisor review,” Goldsbury says. “And everybody would say, ‘We can’t get this kind of food on the Strip—simple comfort food at a reasonable price.’ And that’s what struck a chord.”
The place also caught the attention of several Caesars Entertainment executives who lived in the neighborhood. And in 2010, Rick Mazer (then, president of Harrah’s, the Flamingo and the Quad hotel-casinos) approached the brothers about participating in the Flamingo/Quad redevelopment project. Hubbard, who had recently been diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer, died just a few months later.
The tragedy didn’t deter Goldsbury from moving forward with their dream. Off the Strip will be accessible from both the hotel and the shopping promenade. The two-story, 11,000-square-foot restaurant will be open 24 hours, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The top floor will be a chophouse and meeting space. The menu on the ground floor will stick primarily to the American and Italian cuisine of the original restaurant, with some additions intended to attract health-conscious diners. “All of the guys I know at XS and all the nightclubs, when they get off at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning, they might not want to eat waffles, pancakes and carbohydrates,” Goldsbury says. “Most of them are working out, doing crunches all day. So I’ll have a Fresh & Fit menu for them.”
The restaurant is hoping to attract late-night diners from both the Linq and the Flamingo. And all of the food might even eventually be available to guests at the Linq via room service. It’s an ambitious undertaking, and Goldsbury is certain his brother would be pleased.
“Being that we started here 30 years ago, and he was a relatively small, unknown cook,” he says, “to have this opportunity that Caesars has offered us, he’d be more than proud.”