Buzz was moving around about this new restaurant downtown. Something about awesome breakfast and fresh ingredients. In Las Vegas, where outside of fine dining you get a sea of chain restaurants and hit-or-miss buffets? Yeah, I’ve been to good hole-in-the-wall Indian, Thai, and Japanese eateries here, but this place was being referred to as really good yet essentially American (mainly) breakfast food. I had to see what the hype was all about.
Eat, the Breakfast and Lunch Joint—the lovechild of food artist/chef Natalie Young’s heartfelt vision and Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project funding—was one of the first offspring, a growing number of small businesses jumpstarted by the project’s financial backing and mission to revitalize this neglected part of Las Vegas. Opened on the unassuming corner of Carson and 7th in 2012, Eat is a small joint, tastefully designed and decorated. And bring on the taste she did! Before making my way downtown, I first chose to check out the menu online and found a smart mix of traditional diner (shortstacks), granola-leaning (veggie burger), whole foods (arugula salad), and soul food (shrimp and grits) with a splash of international (huevos motulenos). Written directly on the menu is the headline of this post: “good food for good people made with love in downtown Las Vegas.” Right on. Let’s go.
I enlisted my Southern husband who can’t pass up any place with grits on the menu and headed to Eat for breakfast after dropping off our daughter at preschool one morning. We found the dishes are edible sculptures—wondrous to behold and delicious to devour. The fair-trade organic coffee is bottomless. The retro-chic décor reminded us of our beloved Bay Area, and the service was kind. Of course, we’ve been back.
I no longer live in Vegas but visit often. Eat is one of those kinds of restaurants that you want to return to in a place you’ve lived before when in town again. If you’re a tourist, there’s even more reason to seek out this restaurant—it’s where the locals go.
The vintage typewriter at the entrance tugs at my heartstrings. Works by local artists, including a literary mural by UNLV grad Krystal Ramirez, are showcased on the walls as the owner states her dedication to the downtown community and its artists on Eat’s website.
Young’s goal—to create good food with love—means using only fresh, locally sourced, and organic ingredients whenever possible. The value can be tasted.
In our most recent lunch at Eat, this time with our child, I shot these photos to share with you, just in case you couldn’t take my word for it! My husband got a perfect bowl of black bean veggie chili on a very cold day and I had a crisp spinach salad with ripe strawberries. Warm balsamic dressing on one of these falls high up on my Favorite Foods list.
My daughter, ever the hot dog eater (which is what I craved when pregnant with her even though I hadn’t eaten one in over a decade so I have no one else to blame for her addiction), dug into the fancier kielbasa. We stole the buttered sourdough toast it came on since she refuses to eat anything with butter and we can’t pass up sourdough, especially with butter on it. They don’t have kids’ meals, but they do offer a good choice of sides that can amount to such.
Downtown Vegas is growing more attractive for perceptive tourists. Those visiting Vegas now have not only the infamous strip to gawk at but a bevy of new, cool spots to explore downtown. Directly across from Eat stands Downtown Project’s Container Park, a two-story structure built of shipping containers that house bars, restaurants, and shops inaugurated only a few months ago—“Fear and Loathing” painted across its back. (Stay tuned for a post on my visit to this container village…)
If it were my first or fifth time visiting Las Vegas, this area of downtown—much more interesting and rich with local flavor—is where I’d head, and Eat is where I’d go for an excellent breakfast.
Go: Eat, 707 Carson St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Read: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (Why not revisit some Hunter S. Thompson and the Vegas of ol’?)