Las Vegas is a city built on connections. In the early 1900s, the rail line that connected Los Angeles to Salt Lake City ran through Southern Nevada, attracting farmers and ranchers to the area. Fast forward to the 1940s when connected mob figures like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky built The Flamingo, proving a luxury hotel with gambling as the headliner could be big business in the godforsaken Mojave Desert. From the city’s all-powerful founding families and notorious but oft beloved organized crime figures to powerhouses like Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. who forever changed the city’s landscape by legitimizing gaming properties via corporate ownership, the city’s history is indeed one of connections.
So where do all the beautiful, powerful, smart, successful and connected people of Las Vegas live today? The answer is still inextricably linked to the city’s history: primarily in the award-winning master-planned community of Summerlin®, developed by none other than The Howard Hughes Corporation®, the company named for the man whose imprint on the city is even more evident today than it was decades ago.
Summerlin resident and Las Vegas restaurateur, Frank Bonanno, knows a thing or two about food. His family empire includes the ownership and operation of 50 Las Vegas based restaurants located in eight major Vegas hotel/casinos including five food courts at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Flamingo and Bally’s. His newest venture is Royal Britannia Gastro Pub at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, and his company, Fifth Avenue Restaurant Group, employs more than 1,100 people citywide, many who have been with the organization for 20-plus years.
With a strong presence on the Las Vegas Strip, Bonanno has long made a living of serving up delicious food to the city’s millions of tourists. So, when the Bonanno family, which includes his wife, Betty, and oldest son, Robb, opened Trattoria Reggiano at Downtown Summerlin, one would have thought it would just be another day at the office.
“Not so,” said Frank of the authentic Italian eatery that is one of the company’s flagship brands. “It’s an entirely different experience to serve up delicious fare to neighbors and family friends in the very community we call home,” he said. “We take great pride in being part of Downtown Summerlin, and relish greeting friends and neighbors at Trattoria Reggiano, providing them with a great experience and a wonderful meal. Many of the city’s influencers are frequent diners who enjoy a delicious meal close to home”
Residents of Summerlin since 2003, these New Jersey natives have long made a name for themselves in the restaurant business. After earning a degree from “The Culinary Institute of America” and serving as a Lieutenant in the Army, Frank developed and operated a chain of 75 East Coast based chocolate chip cookie stores that he eventually sold to Mrs. Fields.
He then developed a number of Haagen Dazs and Nathan’s Famous franchises, and in 1992, while vacationing in Las Vegas, Frank and Betty felt the city’s energy and were inspired to meet with MGM executives about the possibility of operating in the food court there. A deal was struck, and the rest, as they say, is history. Other names added to the Bonanno portfolio now include Johnny Rockets, Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria and a dozen other restaurant brands.
The Bonanno family includes Maria, 23, a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who is now following in her father’s footsteps, studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa; Gigi, 19, a sophomore at UNLV; and Joey, 18, a senior at Bishop Gorman High School. Robb and his wife, Allison, along with their daughter, Isabella, complete the Bonanno family circle. “Our passions are our family and our business,” said Betty. “We have busy lives keeping up with our kids and our thriving businesses, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Spanning 22,500 acres along the western edge of the Las Vegas valley and framed by Red Rock Canyon National Conservation, the region’s most stunning natural landmark, Summerlin is credited with making Las Vegas known as a great place to live, not just visit. Now in its 28th year, the community is home to more than 100,000 Southern Nevadans drawn to its superior quality of life. With more than 150 miles of walking trails, 250-plus parks of all sizes, ten golf courses, 25 public, private and charter schools and its own downtown, Summerlin is in a league of its own in Southern Nevada when it comes to amenities.
It’s no wonder the city’s captains of industry, entrepreneurs, celebrities, professionals, influencers and yes, even its foodies - often choose to put down roots in Summerlin, easily considered the best place to live in Las Vegas.