Las Vegas is certainly no stranger to a celebrity-endorsed spot; however, none have the Southern charm, thoughtful design and home-grown comfort foods of Nellie’s Southern Kitchen inside MGM Grand Las Vegas. Founded by Kevin Jonas, Sr. and Denise Jonas (you might be familiar with their sons—the Jonas Brothers), the restaurant brings a taste of North Carolina to the Las Vegas Strip in the most authentic way imaginable.
A Look at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen With the Jonas Family
“My Grandma Nellie’s greatest desire was for people to enjoy themselves around her table and on her front porch; everyone was welcomed. We’re so proud to celebrate the opening of Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Las Vegas, where we can share her time-honored recipes and gracious Southern hospitality to visitors from around the world,” Kevin Jonas, Sr. said in a press statement prior to the opening of Nellie’s Southern Kitchen.
We were invited on an exclusive media tour of the stunning dining space with Mr. and Mrs. Jonas and had the opportunity to try out some of the menu items. We got an up-close look at the menu and the special family recipes that feature strongly throughout.
The Jonas Family
“Grandma Nellie was a special lady who prided herself on making sure everyone felt welcome and well taken care of. She would love that we’re keeping her traditions alive and providing guests from all walks of life a place that feels like home,” Denise Jonas told members of the press.
The restaurant celebrated its official grand opening in early June 2022, which coincided with the Jonas Brothers’ residency opening. “Nellie’s Southern Kitchen is a perfect reflection of our family’s passion for food and music. And the fact that we introduced Nellie’s the same weekend our Las Vegas residency kicked off couldn’t be better,” Kevin Jonas said in a press statement.
His brothers echoed the sentiment and remarked on the perfect pairing between Nellie’s Souther Kitchen and Las Vegas. Nick Jonas has said, “In many ways, Nellie’s is a celebration of what people love about Las Vegas – amazing food, great vibes and entertainment. We’re excited to officially open the doors to share all of this with our fans while commemorating our Great-Grandmother’s legacy.”
Joe Jonas also celebrated the Las Vegas residency with an exclusive, one-time DJ set at local day club Wet Republic inside MGM Grand Las Vegas in collaboration with Tanqueray. “Our family’s connection to Las Vegas has always been strong as we’ve performed here many times over the years, and it feels very special to now have a permanent piece of our family history in the city for everyone to enjoy,” he told the press.
While many of the specials are imported from the original Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Belmont, North Carolina, Las Vegas has some exclusive dishes from Executive Chef Mario Nichols. The braised short ribs, lobster and waffles and the country fried steak are all new items, and the “Southern Rolls” were made exclusively for the Las Vegas location.
Chef Mario brought the new menu items to life while honoring the family recipes that are featured throughout the menu. “When I first met the Jonas family and heard about Grandma Nellie, I immediately noticed their passion for great food, having fun and caring for others. Nellie’s Southern Kitchen reminds me of cooking with my parents and grandparents, growing up singing songs while making incredible food passed down from generation-to-generation,” Chef has said.
Authenticity was essential to the Jonas family when curating the menu, “Our emphasis is on being true to the regional Southern food that is represented in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia regions, and also trying not to overcomplicate it. Too often, I go to a place, and they’ll say southern food, and I think they’ve referenced some,” Jonas, Sr., told us. “But I would still prefer that straight ahead chicken and dumplings my grandmother made.”
The classic Southern dish evokes childhood memories for Jonas, Sr. “No matter where it was in the world, that’s what I wanted to come home to. It’s not lost on us that no matter how creative we try to be with specials and other things, our number one seller is chicken and dumplings and our number one seller in desserts is banana pudding. And these are 100-year-old recipes from people that work in cotton.” While much of the menu items stand out on Instagram, don’t judge the chicken and dumplings dish by photos. Denise Jonas joked, “It doesn’t photograph well, but it tastes amazing.”
Finding Chef Mario was a perfect match. “He’s from our region, so it’s real. And, you know, when people try to improve a 100-year-old recipe that was passed down from generation to generation, I shake my head.” When we asked Jonas, Sr., about what other menu items were especially beloved in his family, he immediately answered, “Well, biscuits, for sure. And my grandmother would come home and kind of lint off the cotton, and just without a recipe and never measuring, just make the most amazing biscuits.”