The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is no stranger to Italian restaurants, but there’s only one Buddy V’s Ristorante (and it's located inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian). Visitors can find Italian food of all kinds in Las Vegas, but no other restaurant provides the same type of classy yet comfortable cuisine that feels like a loving, homecooked meal.
Talking Las Vegas and Food with the Cake Boss
For foodies and fans of “Cake Boss” and Celebrity Chef Buddy Valastro’s other television shows on TLC and the Food Network, the restaurant (and Carlo's Bake Shop, steps away from the entrance) are Las Vegas destinations. I attended a recently hosted media event and had the chance to talk with Buddy and Lisa Valastro about their local Las Vegas presence, their favorite menu items and where they like to eat when they’re in Las Vegas.
Chef Buddy Valastro Signs a Cookbook For a Fan(©Louiie Victa)
I was walking through the mall the other day, and I saw one of the Cake ATMs. They’re so cool!
Buddy Valastro: We have so much fun doing them because they don’t look like a vending machine, you know? It really is high-end automated retail. We’re trying to nurture that to put different products in it—we’re going to have some cookies, we’re going to have cake slices, we’re going to be doing tiramisu soon. It’s hard to do a cannoli because you don’t want it to get soggy, but we’re working on it!
Lisa Valastro: What’s good also is that when we invent things, I think more of the consumer part of it. We were in Miami a couple of weeks ago, and of course, it’s midnight or 1 o’clock and guess who’s buying a slice?
Buddy Valastro: Listen, 30% of the sales are from midnight to 6 a.m.
Lisa Valastro: I need a chocolate slice because there’s nothing else open!
Buddy Valastro: It’s what we do!
Chef Buddy Valastro and Sons(©Louiie Victa)
I know many of the menu items are very personal for you but which ones are nearest and dearest to your heart?
Buddy Valastro: I have to say, this inspiration is really this woman right here. I’m not saying it because she’s my wife, and you wouldn’t think so because she’s skinny.
Lisa Valastro: When we’re at home, I’m the cook, and he’s the baker! But he’s a good cook too; he’s a very good cook.
Buddy Valastro: We just wanted to bring the influence of how I eat at home, and whether it was my mom, my grandmother, my dad, my wife, my mother-in-law, myself, we took dishes from everybody. So like, my grandmother’s lasagna is off the charts. My wife’s eggplant parm—which is, listen, she makes eggplant parm and the next day, she makes dinner, and I’m like, “Where’s the extra eggplant parm?” You warm it up; it’s better the second day; it really is! My mother-in-law makes a shrimp scampi which is on the menu, and it’s good; my grandmother’s meatballs were off the hook. When I say my grandmother, they were my mom’s too, but they started with my grandma. I’ll never forget waking up to that Sunday morning—and I still get it; I’m a lucky guy—you wake up to the smell of garlic frying.
Lisa Valastro: It’s our Sunday tradition at home!
Buddy Valastro: The Sunday gravy.
Lisa Valastro: In our sweatpants! We do not get dressed up at home!
Buddy Valastro: Yeah, it’s not dressy! But you know, you got the sausage, we put all the different meats in, and it just cooks.
Lisa Valastro: It’s a one-pot meal too!
Buddy Valastro: In the morning, and then at 1 or 2 o’clock, we sit down as a family. I watch football.
Lisa Valastro: If you don’t know where to find us on a Sunday, you will always find us at home.
Valastro Sunday Gravy at Buddy V's (©Bill Milne)
Las Vegas Favorites
I know a lot of visitors love to come to Buddy V’s when they’re in town. What restaurants do you like to visit when you’re in Las Vegas?
Lisa Valastro: We love coming to our own places!
Buddy Valastro: We definitely enjoy eating here, but like, depending on where we are, whether we go to Cut or Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse or Tao or SushiSamba or Mott 32 or a burger at Guy’s, we have so many friends in the industry. People don’t realize this is the restaurant capital of the world in this square mile. They might kill me in New York for saying this, but you have the best restaurants on the planet from the best restaurateurs in this stretch. You just don’t really get bad meals here! I love that we’re still doing our thing here at Buddy V’s, staying traditional to what we do. It’s a Jersey red sauce place, and I want you to feel comfortable like you came over to meet my wife; we’re sitting at the table and eating a great meal family-style.
Buddy V's Exterior (©Bill Milne)
Work & Family Balance
How do you maintain family harmony while working with one another?
Buddy Valastro: My sister used to argue with me back in the day, but if you talk to my sister, she’ll tell you—she doesn’t want my job! That’s for damn sure, you know. We get along; we do what’s best for the business. It’s not what’s best for them or me; even if we get mad at each other, we always make up. Every Sunday, we’re all at my house, eating Sunday dinner.