LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Sports bars and food trucks in Las Vegas have been hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's hard to run a sports bar without sports and it's hard to run a food truck with businesses or events to cater to.
But Wing Nutz, a sports bar in the northern part of the valley, offers a healthier alternative to fried wings, without sacrificing any flavor. You'd never know it from the taste, but the chicken wings at Wing Nutz are baked.
"We have a healthier option for the food. That way, you don’t feel as bad eating wings, instead of a burger from McDonald’s," said Bruno Diaz, a Co-Owner at “Wing Nutz," located at 6485 N. Decatur Boulevard in the Shadow Mountain Marketplace.
With 18 flavors to mix and match, customers come for the baked chicken wings at Wing Nutz. But without the bar and sports, business has been a struggle for Diaz and his fellow co-owner, Luis Mota. They've had no choice but to lay off 11 of their 15 employees.
"It’s their families that we're providing for, too. So, now that they're home, it’s a struggle for them. I feel bad for them because they’re out of a job and we can’t provide for them anymore," said Mota.
Still, the staff at Wing Nutz is staying positive and looking forward to the day when customers can enjoy a beer and a ballgame at the bar, along with their signature wings.
"I think we have to come together. It’s the only way we will get through this is together. Not fighting each other, but as a team, as a Vegas strong team. We’ve got to do it together," said Diaz.
Wing Nutz is now selling alcohol to-go, including beer growlers. It's open 11am-10pm, seven days a week. To view the menu or place an order, click this link.
On the east side of the valley, the novel coronavirus has forced Ryan Whelan to temporarily retire his two food trucks, Monti's Smokehouse and All We Do Is Wing.
"We shifted from serving bar patrons, special events, and catering to, 'how do we feed people within a 3 to 5 mile radius?' Asked Whelan rhetorically.
His solution was to feed families under the name of Monti's Smokehouse, but operating rent-free out of the kitchen at the Sunrise Casablanca, a bar and grill that's been serving the east side for years, but is temporarily closed.
"We started doing family meals. Tonight, it’s barbecue chicken with a baked potato and a side of cucumber salad. Tomorrow is lasagna. So, we’re just basically taking blue plate special-type meals, cooking them from scratch, and serving them at an affordable price," said Whelan.
All of Monti's family meals are $6-$7, and the demand has been so high that Whelan hasn't had to lay off any of his employees. In fact, he's hired an extra employee and his staff is still slammed.
"Our whole goal was to keep them [the employees] and their families able to eat, able to keep a roof over their head, and just continue having a lifestyle instead of just shutting everything down. We just did what we thought was right," said Whelan.
Monti's Smokehouse BBQ is open from 11am-10pm, every day of the week. To view the menu or place an order for pickup, click this link.