Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

AS colorful as a palate of paint and as disarming as a golden retriever, the epitomes designer and creative, Ken Fulk is a man that exudes delight and wonder with impeccable sophistication. Having a few moments to speak with this delightful designer and impresario was indeed a privilege. Mr. Fulk enthusiastically shared his creative vision for Las Vegas, namely his newest design effort,  Sadelle’s located in the former Bellagio Café adjacent to the hotel’s popular garden conservatory in Las Vegas Nevada. Working closely with restaurant visionary Major Food Group in creating culinary outlets of superb quality, Fulk along with Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi have formed a restaurateur dream team filled with interactive synergy in shaping spaces into dining destinations.  

 VLV: Please tell us about this exciting new project here at the Bellagio Las Vegas.

KF:  So Carbone was our first project in Vegas. This is our second collaboration with Major Food Group and the MGM corporation. We have great simpatico. With Carbone it was like how do take a classic, almost like Good Fellas Italian restaurant, tucked into the west end of new York and reimaging that in Vegas. 

In my mind it was Opera, with all these wonderful banquettes where everyone is looking at each other, where no one had their backs to the door. We placed the giant chandelier from a Ferrari dealership in Philadelphia. 
When we got the task of reimagining Sadelles, which is a charming new York storefront, I wonder how we were going to reimaging that for Las Vegas. For me it was a French Brasserie, all day long bustling with people and activity and beautiful displays of food along with the classic elements that existed in Sadelle's in New York; certainly our color palette the blue, pink and green and reimagining it here and centered with a great bar. We reoriented and created a staircase with a real sense of arrival while segmenting the restaurant so there is more of a  French café scene looking out to the pool and gardens. The bar looks out over the restaurant and the conservatory and the main dining room is anchored with centered with large glamorous banquettes. It is typical Vegas fashion like poof and we are here. 

 VLV: You are indeed extremely creative, with many different outlets, including Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World and Dering Hall.

KF: I am a lucky man, God made a job for me. Really it all goes back to being a child when I would pick out my little blue blazers I would pick out the buttons and it was made for me. It was about storytelling. As a kid I was in charge of every holiday and most Sunday suppers. My parents owned restaurant growing up so that had to do with the culture of it part of it, but it all seemed to be more about how life got lived. It was important to me that all these moments matter. I learned the word flambé early in life. When I saw the word on the menu, I knew they were going to light something on fire. So I loved the showmanship. This goes along well with Vegas where life is a show, and everything is ready for its close up. We are very well aligned with this.

VLV: How did you develop you relationship with MFG?

I was at my home in Cape Cod when I received a phone call from this brash sounding New Yorker, Jeff Zalaznick, and he told me about Sadelle’s concept and we have this wonderful woman who is going to do the bagels. I thought why are calling me to do a bagel store but that was not it, he want to work with someone who understands us, who speaks the same language and tell our story. I knew the idea of it, and  Saddles is the name of one of their grandmothers. So I went back to San Francisco since this was before our NY studio and came up with some storyboards for a presentation and flew back to meet the group at Carbone. I set up my presentation and said this is Sadelle's. Jeff said this is the best presentation he had ever seen. We instantly hit it off and we knew we sort of fit together. Since then we have worked on multiple projects and I have designed homes for them. They have become dear personal friends. There are a lot of great designers out there but the end of the day it is about relationships. Relationships should be treated with respect and care and we do that with one and another, it is exciting. I truly have made my life up. That’s how we do it from shoes, to books, to candles, to restaurants and why not? It has been an exciting ride.

VLV: I see on your instagram that you are a big animal proponent, especially golden retrievers.

KF: Oh Yes, I am. We have 3 golden’s and a funny little wiener dog. I am an emeritus board member of the SPCA. We love animals and center our lives around them.

VLV: What is the first thing you look at when you are assessing a space?

KF: At Carbone we did much more physical work but here I thought about my own 4000 square foot loft that when people came in they were always surprise at how big it was because I had divided it into smaller more intimate spaces. So we did this here; You have the bar, café and the grand glamorous dining space with the great banquettes and of course color. Some people are afraid of color, but I am not. Another bold move was the flooring. We introduced bold geometric graphic flooring throughout the bar and dining room and then beautiful reclaimed French oak all through the café and entry.

VLV: Now have you worked on these projects do you have more projects planned for LV?

KF:  We would be well suited for it. We certainly enjoy this and we work with an amazing group of people. Yes, I do think we will have more projects, maybe a real 1950’s night club? Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

Eataly Las Vegas is Now a Reality A Park MGM.

With much fanfare, and dedicated hard work, Eataly has opened their doors on a weekend where a reported 300,000 plus New Years Eve Visitors descend upon the Las Vegas Strip. Located in the Park MGM, Eataly’s newest addition to their already 37 worldwide locals is unique; these front doors will never close to the public, albeit that some of the indoor venues will close within the Eataly complex.

Eataly’s theoretical life came to fruition under the persistency and tenacity of Italian business magnet, Oscar Farinetti, a man who developed UniEuro into Italy's largest consumer electronics company. 

Inspired by the bazaars of Istanbul and his desire in bringing the best in Italian products within a unique market setting, Eataly was born. Transforming his nebulous idea into a worldwide reality that continues to prosper with global success, took many arduous and persistent years. Since the first opening in Torino Italy in 2007, 

Eataly has grown into more than 37 global food villages reminiscent of European markets where one could eat, shop, dine and learn surrounded by a cornucopia of local producers and Italian cured meats, cheeses, wines and other gastronomic delicacies.

According to Farinetti, “Eataly’s success is linked to our philosophy, because people can eat shop and learn, all about high-quality food, three activities that don’t coexist anywhere else. Moreover, our informal style of communication shows how direct and approachable we are, just the way people like.”

With the onset of perhaps one of the most ambitious projects to date, Oscar’s beloved son, Nicola Farinetti has taken the reigns as the CEO of Eataly USA and spokesperson for the project. He gives us few reminders of what lies behind this culinary organization that continues its ambitious expansion around the globe.


Looking around at the incredible array of food offerings and producers here at Eataly, are the offerings standard in all the Eataly’s worldwide?

NF: No, for many reasons but reason number one is high quality Italian food is limited. It is limited by producers because they are tiny. We may have a producer that is in 5 stores and another is at 10 stores since they are small producers. We look for local producers. It is important that we also collaborate with the local community. Producers may be different, but they follow the same quality standard. Of course, there are some products that we have in every story but we augment with local producers. I think we have Creekstone, but in Boston we have another local provider as it is in all the different stores.

Do you think Americans are increasing their food awareness as to where their food is coming from and how it is processed?

NF: Food is becoming more and more important every day. None the less we are improving not just in the US but everywhere. Nutrition and our understanding of how and what we put in our bodies changes everything. It changes the way we feel, our very DNA, it changes everything.

Was that really the impetus of your motivation in opening Eataly?

NF: We have always believed that food can change everything. It is a very big component on environmental system of the world. It you produce good food it is better for everyone and it better for the health system. Cheap food doesn’t exist. If you are don’t pay for it someone else is paying for it. It is either in the environment or it’s either the person who is person who has made the food that is extremely poor and underpaid for it.

What was the driving force to take Eataly globally?

NF: It really is my father. I am extremely lucky I was born in a family where My Dad was a visionary. At times he could not sleep as he was busy creating projects. He was always creating things and making things happen. He is a retailer and had the vision form the beginning. It took me years to understand his vision. He had the vision since we opened in Torino. I think I am always a couple years behind my Dad, as he is always thinking ahead. For us, we just want to be very proud of what we do. We have created something so unique that is also very complicated and impossible to replicate. It is our happiness but also our greatest nightmare; for example we will have 75 restaurants opening in one location in one day.
What is your greatest challenge?

NF: It is always going to be people but that is the greatest challenge for humanity. Everyone who wants to grow is going to have this challenge.

Chef Nicole Brisson, Elaine Harris, Scott Harris

You have a wonderful executive Chef working with you Chef Nicole Brisson. She is a great team player.

NF: She is wonderful team player. We are very happy to have her working with us that has our same value. She is our only female executive Chef working with our company in the US. She is so knowledgeable about this market more than anyone of us, she knows everyone.

What is uniquely challenging about Las Vegas?

NF: Opening no, but we are working with the MGM Corporation which is challenging in a good way. We have also opened our own store in our own way, but this is the first time we have collaborated with another company that is very different in sizing and culture. It has been fantastic. Everyone says it is about scalability, as far it could be very on a Friday but dead on a Tuesday. We will find out as we go forward.

Guests queued up for hours and at exactly 5pm the doors to Eataly Las Vegas opened to reveal a plethora of imported Italian delights to sip and savor on through the evening.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair. AS colorful as a palate of paint and as disarming as a...

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