Carmelo’s Bistro has been in business in the Pahrump Valley since 2006, when they moved the business from Las Vegas after several years in existence there, offering their Italian fare to those who call Nye County home.
With the desire to update the look of the facility paired with the need to meet updated health codes, owner Leonardo Blundo knew it was time to renovate the eatery.
“Six or seven years looking at the same walls, it was time for a change,” Blundo said. “Out with the old, in with the new.”
The remodel added two feet to the kitchen, fresh paint and new decor on the walls and updated seating as well.
For the most part the remodeling process was fairly smooth, but as with most processes that require county inspections, there were a few hiccups along the way.
“Ask any contractor in this town, there is always unforeseen problems, always something you didn’t think of, or plan with,” he said. “That might just be the beauty of it, being pragmatic and being able to navigate and manage those issues.”
County officials were there to assist Blundo along the way, giving him assistance whenever he ran into an issue during the remodel.
“The county stepped up and we got through our differences and in the end we’re getting things done,” Blundo said. “So I would actually like to thank the county. They stepped up and and were very helpful making sure we get on the right track.”
Along with the new look, Carmelo’s will also add a few items to the menu, that consists of pizza, fine pasta dishes and desserts, that were available before by request, but often many didn’t know were an option.
“For example, we’re able to do shrimp alfredo, something I’ve been asked several times. It’s available, it’s on the menu,” he said. “We’re also adding salmon to the menu. I have the chicken, the beef and we’re going to make sure that fish is on the menu as well.”
Even with the new menu additions, Blundo is always willing to do what he can to make any item not on the menu for a customer if he has the ingredients, under any circumstance.
Being a father of three himself, Blundo knows how it can be to take young children out to eat. With some kids dead set on ruining the parents’ experience, he recalled a situation that he helped tame a raucous child.
“Mom and dad want to go out and this child is being slightly obnoxious… “he wanted a pancake of all things,” Blundo said. “I said, ‘If I make you a pancake are we good?’ Made him a deal, right there, I’m going to make you a pancake.”
Yes. The child did hold up to his end of the bargain and gave his parents some peace and quiet as he enjoyed his pancake.
It’s that kind of customer service that Blundo said helped build up his clientele and differentiate Carmelo’s from the rest of the food options in the area.
“What differentiates us from any fast food chain?” It’s still eating, it’s still food. It’s the service, it’s what we do here,” he said. “It’s the people.” It ties it all back together. That’s why we live here.”
As in most businesses, everything is not smooth sailing all the time. Despite going through some rough patches, Blundo said his knowledge of the industry helped the business push through and make it where it is today.
“We weathered the recession … and it’s tough. You have to know the right cuts to make, how to tighten your belt, operate and make the guests happy,” Blundo said. “It takes a little bit of skill to do that. It take some expertise, it’s some savvy into the business of this industry.”
Despite all the hard work, the ups and downs, and everything else that comes with owning and operating a business, Blundo enjoys the work and doesn’t consider his job just his job. It’s his life.
“We don’t come to work. It’s a passion,” he said “It’s a labor of love. You’ve got to love what you do it’ll never be work.”
Carmelo’s Bistro is located at 1440 E. Highway 372, Suite C, and will have a soft grand reopening on Friday. Call ahead for details at (775) 751-1660.