A brand new eatery began doing business in Pahrump this month.
Tony’s Grill at 2610 North Blagg Road opened its doors on June 1.
Owner Tony Nunez spoke about how his restaurant differs from others in town.
The restaurant specializes in Italian, Mexican, Chinese and classic American cuisine.
Business hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“I wanted to collect the best items that people are looking for, and put it into the menu,” Nunez said. “We have a very diverse menu and it has everything that people are looking for. I am very proud of the menu that we have. We also serve breakfast aside from lunch and dinner. In all honesty, that has worked out very well. We also have a kid’s menu, where one of the biggest sellers is the macaroni and cheese.”
Longtime in the industry
Nunez is certainly not new to the restaurant industry, as he has more than 30 years’ experience. He started out as a 16-year-old dishwasher.
“During that time I also helped the cooks,” he recalled. “I would go into the cook station and ask if they needed any help, and I started helping. One day, the executive chef asked me if I wanted to learn how to cook. At that time, he gave me an opportunity to develop myself and after two years, he told me he was going to pay for my schooling, which he did. He sent me to a culinary school, where I learned a lot. I really appreciate what he did. After that, I started growing and growing and began to develop myself.”
Feeding a former pope
It would probably be safe to say that Nunez is the only resident of Pahrump to have ever prepared a meal for a pope back in 1984.
“I had the distinct privilege to cook for Pope John Paul II in Puerto Rico,” he said. “That was the only time that he went to Puerto Rico. I had the privilege to be there at the right time and the right moment. After that, I got a lot of different job offers. I was also featured in several magazines and newspapers. That was the key that opened the door for me big time.”
On the menu for the pontiff was stuffed zucchini.
“We took a zucchini, sliced it in half and removed the insides,” Nunez said. “We then filled it with lobster and crab meat. He did not eat red meat, so he preferred vegetables and seafood. We cooked for two thousand people at that time.”
One customer at Tony’s Grill was enjoying lunch with her mother and granddaughter.
Carol Ann Hull said she will be a regular customer after her first visit.
“I think the food is very good and it’s much different than what they served here at the Pahrump Cafe years ago,” she said. “My mom had the crispy tacos, my granddaughter had ice cream and I’m having diet food. They do have a very diverse menu here. I’ve really enjoyed it, and the customer service has been good. I’m coming back tomorrow.”
Additional amenities on horizon
Additionally, Nunez said he already has plans to expand his business.
“Of course we offer takeout, but coming up in a few months, we are also going to offer deliveries,” he said. “The other plan that we have is to build a butcher shop on site. We are planning to work on that, and it’s one of the reasons we chose this location. Honestly, I love this location, even if a lot of people say we are kind of away from the heart of town, but in my opinion, it’s worth the drive. We are not far from Bell Vista Road, where a lot of tourists travel through town.” Nunez also noted that he is still looking to bring on additional staff.
“We are still hiring right now, including cooks, dishwashers and management, but we really need experienced cooks right now,” he said.
Giving back to community
Moreover, Nunez expressed much interest in giving back to the community, by way of his business venture.
“If I can find the right team I want to put together some events to help people in the community if they need it,” he said. “I would be more than happy to do that. Don’t get me wrong, we need money to pay the bills, but it’s also important to do what you can to help others. I enjoy it when I see other people enjoy what I do. Life has given a lot to me and I am very grateful for that.”
Just recently, the Tony’s Grill exterior signage fell victim to windy weather, exposing the previous business sign at the 2610 North Blagg Road location.
“We are in the process of creating another banner for display on the storefront, and we will have a sign along the street, as well.”
In years past, Nunez owned and operated a mobile catering company, providing concessions throughout Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson.
He has also created networking connections with business owners, city officials, charities and community organizations.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at email@example.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes