Continued from Part 1...

Tell me about this year's Summer Cookout featuring Robert Irvine.

So, this year's slightly different. (I know you didn't come, last year; but that's okay.) Last year, we did it out by the pool; and we invited a lot of different chefs from a lot of different places; and we had a sold-out crowd.  It was unbelievable! Patron was a big sponsor of that, we made about $40,000 or $50,000 (I'm not sure of the correct number right now, but it was somewhere in there) which was awesome, for a local charity.

This year, we're going to do something different. We're doing the restaurants of the hotel, in my restaurant. So, you're going to taste all the flavors of the Tropicana, under one roof. We've got some great stuff happening there.

Obviously, you know we have our own tequila, and our own vodka – of which a portion goes to our charity, The Robert Irvine Foundation, that builds homes and trains dogs for handicapped soldiers. So, I’d say that’s kind of a cool thing.

And you're partnering with the Three Square Food Bank, again; correct?

Yes. Well, they do such great work. They really do. I've done a few other things with them.

Because one of the things I said, Michael; was that I didn't want to be an absentee owner.  And I'm not. I'm there, every two or three weeks. I was just there, last week, actually. I want people to know me and be part of the community.

And, since I want to make sure that we're doing good stuff in the Las Vegas community, what better partner is there, then Three Square?

Oh, Three Square is amazing. Speaking of the community, where do you enjoy dining in Las Vegas? Off property?

So, I love Rick Moonen. Another amazing guy is José Andrés.

If I lived in Vegas for a year, I could go to a different restaurant every night and not have the same, right? I just think there's so many awesome places, that it depends what you want.

I love BabyStacks for breakfast. Oh my God! Have you been to BabyStacks Café?

Yes. And I know that you're a fan of Chef Morimoto’s.

Yeah. He did my wedding. He's a dear friend of mine. So, yeah. I mean, my wife is enamored with him. She loves his food. It's sushi. And here's the thing, I won't eat sushi except for him and SUSHISAMBA.

Well, luckily for you, Morimoto is right across the street from you.

I know!  We were there a couple of weeks ago. It was packed!

How did the first Summer Cookout come to pass? I mean, what was the idea behind it? Because, obviously, you were happy with it because you’re back for Round Two; but what was the impetus for the original one? How did you and Tropicana first decide--?

We wanted to do something really cool for the community. And I went to visit Three Square; and to be honest with you, Michael, I was blown away. I have done a lot of food bank functions.  Actually, did one in Boston for the last three years, and made a lot of money for them.

When I visited Three Square, and talked to them, and got a chance to talk to the volunteers who work there - not the paid staff, but the volunteers?  And then I found out the mission and the scope of what they do - not only delivering food, but making food!

And the chef at Three Square - oh my God! I wouldn't want his job, if you'd pay me a million bucks.

Chef Hilton is awesome, right?

I mean, I would love to hire that guy, if I could afford to do it. He's just incredible.  And so is the whole operation. That’s the reason we did it. We wanted to do something for the community and make an impact.

Listen, most of what we do with charities, is cook. And we’ve got a lot of people behind us.  Tropicana wanted to do it because they're already behind Three Square.  So, I said, "Well, listen... If it's not for a charity that I don't know, then I don't want to do it." I mean, you hear about charities and what they do with the money, all the time; so, I wanted to see it for myself. So, I went out to Three Square (I got to do a couple of events, there); out in North Las Vegas, to their facility, there?

Yeah?  The Three Square facility is pretty mind-blowing, huh?

It's amazing!  I was floored at what they do there.  Just floored, at the warehouse space, at the people. And I'm like, "Yeah!"

So, I want to do more. So, we started that. We'll do it again this year. I'm looking at doing more events for them for the next while.

And now, Three Square is now your official community partner.

Yeah! Absolutely.

Concluded in Part 3…

Summer Cookout featuring Robert Irvine – a benefit for Three Square Food Bank
Robert Irvine’s Public House | Tropicana Las Vegas
Thursday, June 14th | 7-10pm
Click HERE for info and tickets

Get into it!