Winner of Las Vegas giveaway prepping to open restaurant of their dreams

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:51 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -“It’s been a really amazing experience,” said Mallory Gott, owner of Winnie and Ethel.

Mallory and executive chef Aaron Lee have always dreamed of opening a coffee shop, especially in the heart of downtown.

“The diner name stems from Aaron’s grandma Winnie and my grandma Ethel. It’s something we both wanted to do as a nod to the history of this part of the city,” said Gott.

A 1940′s inspired eatery, Gott said she wanted to keep everything true to her upbringing and true to the neighborhood in downtown. The food is the star at the diner.

“Homemade comfort food, nice, sweet pancakes, waffles - all the food people love at diners but done really right,” said Gott.

How this all came about was through a contest hosted by Dapper Companies: six finalists were chosen from 80 contestants.

Two winners were chosen by judges including some names like Marc Marrone and John Simmons, owners of big-name restaurants in the valley.

The winning restaurant would be designed, built, furnished, and equipped with goods.

“In less than 12 months from just being invited to participate to actually standing in front of our physical restaurant - that is still in construction and opening by the end of the year - is still mind-blowing,” Lee said.

Gott and Lee say the leap of faith was worth it.

“For the two of us at least it was a huge dream and one that we saw happening much further down the road,” said Gott.

Then, there are the other winners like Dinette Luncheonette. The restaurant is owned by Nick Della Penna and is expected to open by the end of the year,

Penna is excited and said he applied to the contest with a lot of hope, but never thought he’d actually win.

“We’ll enter this contest, you know, if we don’t win, no big deal. We won, holy cow, we really have to do this,” Penna said.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - given an entire restaurant virtually at no cost. It was thrilling,” said Penna. Proud of his work and the food to come, the team at Dinette said they are doing a 70s in Las Vegas concept.

“We’re going to be brining our corned beef in-house, pickling our own pickles, scratch kitchen, homemade, every item’s going to be recognizable but elevated,” said Penna.