Annie’s Gourmet Italian Restaurant Version 2.0

In the kitchen with Grandma Cungie and Annie
In the kitchen: Grandma Cungie & Annie

In late 2009, Annie Payton, CPCE, opened Annie’s Gourmet Italian in Henderson, Nevada. She did so, on the heels of being laid off at Reflection Bay, a golf and event venue… as Greater Las Vegas descended into considerable recession.

The cozy, home-style Italian restaurant had its share of successes and challenges. To move into a fresh success-cycle, Annie considered the options and decided to pursue a new location, doubling seating, upgrading from beer and wine to a full bar,  and adding gaming machines in the bar (The Lost Weekend Bar).

The Lake Las Vegas Marina continues to call on Annie’s as a preferred vendor for its weddings and parties on its yachts. This relationship provides a base of activity for Annie’s off-premise services.

Annie's Gourmet Italian

The pet-friendly patio was a highly-appreciated feature of the original Annie’s location. During regular business hours, customers were free to bring their 4-footed friends. The area was sufficiently large to accommodate special events, too.

In searching out a new location, Annie launched a new outdoor space, Ookie’s Garden Pet Friendly Patio.

Achieving Superhero Status

Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera

Anyone who has built out a business, from scratch, or expanded/remodeled their home, will tell you about running the gauntlet. In Annie’s case, she continued to operate her original location, while overseeing construction of the new location.

The confluence of contractors, inspectors, hiring and training new employees, and long work days were a taxing experiences. All of these while maintaining a going concern at the original restaurant location. Annie pushed on… 

With a seemingly unending string of ‘surprises,’ on all fronts, Annie pushed on.

The Grand Opening Has Arrived

Enjoy a cocktail! at Annie's Gourmet Italian
Enjoy a cocktail!

Monday, May 19th, is the Grand Opening of Version 2.0 of Annie’s Gourmet Italian. Ribbon cutting by Henderson Mayor, Andy Hafen, and dinner service, beginning at 4pm.

Beginning with the Grand Opening, Annie Payton will lead her staff and customers into a new era. Annie is a soft spoken and spirited leader. She lives in the present and future; for her employees and customers. And those qualities are the soul of her business.

If you live in Greater Las Vegas or have occasion to visit, make it a point to enjoy a meal at Annie’s. You’ll not only eat well and enjoy family-style surroundings, but see the end result of incredibly hard work from everyone involved.

 “La Vita e Bella!” (Life is Beautiful!)

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

NACE Award Winner Bucks Economy; Opens Restaurant

NACE Award Winner
Annie Payton, CPCE

NACE Award Winner, Annie Payton, CPCE is a 5-time winner of various NACE (National Association of Catering Executives) awards for excellence in events. She received a stunning three awards for work at Reflection Bay, Lake Las Vegas, this past July at the NACE Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Unfortunately, Annie was not at the conference as she had just been laid off by Reflection Bay, due to the closure of the facility. Great events, aside, its closure was a by-product of the ongoing weakness in the Las Vegas economy.

After considering her options for employment, Annie decided to turn lemons into lemonade: She began the process of opening her own restaurant, Annie’s Gourmet Italian in Henderson, NV.

As the Las Vegas economy has plummeted, since early 2008, many businesses have downsized or closed their doors. In her planning and search for a location, Annie found a vacant restaurant space that had been completely built out. She negotiated the deal with her new landlord, purchased the necessary kitchen equipment, furniture, signage, and navigated the local license and permit process.

NACE Award WinnerYesterday, Annie’s Gourmet Italian opened its doors for lunch and dinner. Business neighbors, friends, and random customers dined on family style, traditional Italian food, in the cozy eatery. The restaurant seats about 40 inside and has a patio that accommodates 50.

The patio is an ideal setting for lunches, dinners, and  wedding rehearsal dinners in warmer months. Off-premise catering and take-out are also part of the mix at Annie’s.

Comment: The entrepreneurial spirit is an interesting quality. It is often said that

” When one door closes, another one opens.”

Annie Payton, CPCE has put that saying into practice by bucking the economy blues and any other hurdles thrown in her way.

If you’re in the area, stop in and enjoy fine family food and the warmth of spirit that is Annie’s Gourmet Italian.

NACE Award Winner
Pat & Jodi Harris, Andy Ebon, Michelle & Russ Howard

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority