Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas Celebrates 20 Years!
Mon Ami Gabi opened on the Las Vegas Strip along with the Paris Hotel & Casino on September 1, 1999, and for the last 20 years, it’s been a favorite with locals and visitors alike. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our beloved French bistro, we sat down with key members of the team for a look back at the last 20 years of Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas.
On the restaurant’s unique name – Chef/Partner Gabino Sotelino
Mon Ami Gabi translates to “My Friend Gabi” in English and Chef/Partner Gabino Sotelino is “Gabi.”
“Before we opened the first Mon Ami Gabi (in Chicago), my friend Chef Jean Banchet from Le Francais pulled up to the restaurant and called out, ‘Hey mon ami Gabi, how are you?’ It was Martha Melman (LEYE Founder Rich Melman’s wife) who pointed out how catchy the phrase was. And the rest is history.”
Chef Gabino is also the brains (and the palate) behind Mon Ami Gabi’s robust wine program, which boasts a selection of more than 80 boutique French wines. He tastes through each wine, carefully selecting those that make the list. He’s clearly done something right, because to date, more than 3,000,000 glasses of wine have been poured at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas.
On honoring the classics – Chef/Partner Susan Weaver
Fun fact: More than half of today’s Mon Ami Gabi menu is comprised of dishes that were on the menus when they opened in 1999.
“We want to share French traditions and classics, but we strive to make them for today’s world. Food is like fashion, built on fundamentals and foundation, but as the seasons change, so do the dishes. The ones that stay forever are the ones that honor beauty and classics but add something fresh.”
We did the math and here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of the last 20 years at Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas.
Celebrating with us? Follow Mon Ami Gabi on Instagram at @monamigabibistro and share your photos!
On how The Strip has changed in 20 years – Managing Partner Perry Fuselier
“Mon Ami Gabi set the precedent for outdoor dining on The Strip when we opened with 18 tables outside. Other restaurants weren’t doing patios at that time. Later, we ended up adding another 24 tables and now we’re seating 165 guests al fresco. Back in 1999, the Bellagio had just opened and since then we’ve seen massive changes on The Strip. Two new towers have been built at Caesars Palace, as well as Aria, The Cosmopolitan, Waldorf Astoria, The Linq, The Venetian and The Palazzo, Wynn, and a second tower at Mandalay Bay, just to name just a few.”
On our regulars, who make it all worth it – Executive Chef Vincent Pouessel
“We’re incredibly lucky to have a large number of regulars, but there are two that really stand out. Mr. and Mrs. Snowball are a lovely couple who have been coming to Mon Ami Gabi since day one. They have joined us for a weekend dinner, with no exceptions, either Friday or Saturday for the last 20 years. They know everyone in the restaurant by name, including most of the cooks and chefs. We’re honored that they have also spent every New Year’s Eve with us, with just two exceptions when they were in France visiting their family. We love them and consider them a part of the Mon Ami Gabi family.”
On our staff, who keep this well-oiled machine running – Manager Michael DelaPena
“I started as a stock boy, polishing the plates and silverware for the team. But thanks to great teachers and mentors along the way, I’m proud to say I’m now a manager. Nancy MacAulay, our General Manager, is amazing. She really holds us together and is our #1 work mom! She has inspired me to always improve myself in and out of work. Assouir El Malki, she was a busser when I first started. She was the first person I met at the restaurant and she taught me how to carry a tray. She’s now one of our top servers. I’ve been at Mon Ami Gabi for about 7 years, so it’s been incredible to grow with this team.”
On famous faces we’ve welcomed over the years – Sales & Special Events Manager Mandy Lahlou
“We’ve had a number of celebrities join us in the last 20 years – Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, David Hasselhoff, and Matt Damon are just a few I can remember. I also waited on Richard Melman (LEYE founder) on opening night in 1999!”