Cory Harwell’s culinary passion began in the dish room of a small restaurant in Woodstock Georgia, and only grew from there. Since, he’s worked in nearly every position imaginable in restaurants from fast food, to fast casual, to casual, to fine dining and now uses his 20-plus years of experience at Simon Hospitality Group.
Harwell partnered with Kerry Simon to create Simon Hospitality Group in early 2013 and created restaurants such as Chuck’s A Kerry Simon Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, the opening and oversight of Simon Mansion at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, and most recently, Carson Kitchen, in downtown Las Vegas.
Here, he shares some of his favorite luxuries in Las Vegas.
What is your full name: Cory Michael Harwell
What is your title: Owner, president, chef, busboy, dishwasher, host and therapist
Where were you born: Dunedin, Florida
How long in Las Vegas: 19 years
Favorite Part of Vegas: It’s like Disney World for adults.
Favorite Restaurant: Carnevino is not only my favorite restaurant in Las Vegas but it’s the best steakhouse in the world.
Best Sushi: I love Yonaka and I’m a huge fan Bar Masa.
Best Italian: What Michael LaPlaca is doing at Portofino is special.
Best dessert: Sweets Raku is head and shoulders above the rest.
Best place for a romantic date: This is a hard one to answer honestly as a restaurateur, but the best romantic date is a home cooked meal with killer music, great wine and amazing company.
Best Sunday brunch: There are places that are louder, crazier and more of a party, but the best brunch menu in town is with Geno Bernardo at Herringbone. It’s also the best al fresco dining in town.
Best place for a power business meeting: Milos Estiatorio at the Cosmopolitan. It might also be the best lunch deal in town as well.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Cosmopolitan has the most interesting collection of restaurants, but for overall quality of stay you have to go to the Four Seasons.
Best Casino: Maybe I’m biased because I worked there for so long, but I love the casino floor at NYNY. The center bar also bring a lot of energy to it.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Does Golf Galaxy count here?
Favorite men’s store: Stitched
Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Tiffany’s
Best Spa: The 90-minute Nagomi Ritual at Qua Baths & Spa in Caesars is the best treatment in the best spa that I’ve been to.
Favorite Charity Event: St. Baldrick’s Head Shaving at McMullans Irish Pub.
Favorite Cultural Event: Life is Beautiful.
Favorite Cultural Institution: Neon Museum
Best Steakhouse: Carnevino
Best Pizza: The Rebel at Naked City Tavern by Chris Palmeri. That dough though.
Best Lunch: Milos mentioned above.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Raw Fitness
Best Massage: Nagomi Ritual mentioned above.
Best Limousine/Driving Service: Las Vegas Limousines
Best Museum/Exhibit: Mob Museum
Describe your city in three words: Vibrant Energetic Unique
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: I love Fremont Street and Downtown Las Vegas.
All-around favorite spot in Las Vegas: Whatever golf course I’m on….
Best Aspect of Las Vegas: This city and the people in it have given me the chance to live out my dreams. It will always be the greatest city in the world to me!