Mimmo Ferraro returns to the kitchen at Las Vegas iconic Ferraro’s Ristorante

An icon by any name, 37-year-old Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar recently changed its name to the simple and succinct Ferraro’s Ristorante. The transition aligns with the family-run business’ goal to maintain and refresh its legacy in Las Vegas.

The other notable change is a similar return to form: Mimmo Ferraro is back in the kitchen as executive chef after focusing in recent years on developing the family’s other concepts, Pizza Forte and Ferraro’s Italian Street Eats. The Vegas native grew up slicing cold cuts and bussing tables in the restaurant, founded by his parents Gino and Rosalba Ferraro in 1985.

Mimmo Ferraro

“It gave me a break from being on the line cooking every day, and I really enjoyed that part of it,” Mimmo says of building the other brands, which operate at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Ballpark and Allegiant Stadium.

Those developments were part of the family’s strategy to diversify implemented almost 10 years ago, when it wanted to branch out beyond the fine-dining experience at Ferraro’s. Installing eateries at the city’s new sports venues has been meaningful for Mimmo.

“We probably only do 25% local business [at the restaurant], and everything else is conventions and tourism,” he says. “Being in T-Mobile and part of the Vegas Golden Knights [experience] is absolutely tremendous. We are turning into a big city.”

Ferraro’s has long held a reputation for incredible Italian food and wine that stretches far beyond this burgeoning big city’s borders. The restaurant completed a major interior renovation just before the pandemic struck, and is close to finishing up the little details from that remodel, having recently added signage that pops in its Paradise Road strip mall.

“We went from old-school Italian with those Tuscan colors to a nice, modern, bright and trendy restaurant, to go after all different crowds,” Mimmo says. “We were getting an older crowd a few years ago, then came the remodel and a refresh on the menu, and now we’re seeing younger people and service industry people. It’s been the right move.”

Authentic cuisine has set Ferraro’s apart from other Italian spots from the start. With Mimmo back in the kitchen, that won’t change.

“We really stick to our guns with what we feel an Italian restaurant should be in this town. My father is from Calabria, my mother is from Naples, I studied in Tuscany, but have traveled the whole country, and we want to stay true to our roots,” he says. “Chicken Parm, spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo … you can’t go to Italy and get that food. They’re not part of the cuisine.”

That’s why fresh-made pastas, imported cheeses and dishes like Coniglio Brasato (braised rabbit with polenta) and Trippa Satriano (honeycomb tripe in spicy tomato sauce) are always in the mix.

“I’m working on this Sicilian pistachio pesto with homemade gnocchi … and rigatoni made with nduja, which is a spreadable soppressata from my father’s hometown,” Mimmo says. “Unique flavors and unique ideas. We are firing on all cylinders.”

FERRARO’S RISTORANTE 4480 Paradise Road, 702-364-5300, ferraroslasvegas.com. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.

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