Leaving fine dining Italian cuisine for American BBQ, James Beard nominated and Bravo Top Chef favorite Chef Bruce Kalman opens his first Las Vegas restaurant with business partner Richard Camarota, dubbed Soulbelly BBQ, in the heart of the Downtown’s Arts District May 12, 2021.
“I came to Las Vegas because a chef friend of mine convinced me it was a great place to start a business and raise our son, Jude. Since taking the leap of faith in 2019, I’ve been so warmly welcomed by the incredible culinary and business community here. I want Soulbelly to be something special that celebrates the amazing soul of Las Vegas and its people. We’re going to work really hard to deliver on that and give our town a relaxed experience where you can come as you are and know that you’re going to be well fed and well taken care of, and also have fun while you’re at it. We’ve held a series of pop-ups to build momentum, but it’s finally time to show the city of Las Vegas what we’ve been smoking and I couldn’t be more excited!”
“We saw an opportunity to bring a totally new experience to Las Vegas’ growing off-strip dining scene. The combination of great, honest barbecue, cooler beers, American whiskey and live music is something we’re really passionate about and excited for people to enjoy. We’re also really proud and grateful to be joining this awesome family of indie restaurants, bars, shops in the area; the whole neighborhood is set to explode with energy as the world re-opens.” says Camarota.
From fine Italian to American BBQ – Chef Bruce Kalman’s Evolution
A veteran chef who worked his way through some of the country’s most prestigious kitchens in New Jersey, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Kalman became most known for his time at and ownership of LA’s Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market and Pasadena’s UNION, where he wowed diners with his Italian cuisine.
Committed to art of cooking, Kalman has always prided himself on house-crafted dishes created with the best-quality ingredients. In a kismet meeting, Kalman found himself at a charity event also attended by Backbeat BBQ founder and Foo Fighters Front Man Dave Grohl. In an effort to help Grohl serve the crowds, Kalman was introduced to the passion, effort and incredible community of American BBQ. That was all it took. From that experience, Soulbelly BBQ was born.
A Chef’s Take on Regional American BBQ
Coming from a very different side of the culinary industry “barbecue has been humbling,” says Kalman. “I really wanted to respect the tradition while putting my own spin on my meats. I’m taking a little more of a chef’s approach than a pitmaster’s, though the heart of the industry and culture can still be tasted.”
Signature #jigglymeat-a phrase coined for the way a brisket moves when it’s pulled from the smoker-dishes include Kalman’s Salt & Pepper Brisket, Carolina Pulled Pork, Chipotle Cider Glazed Drumsticks, Pork Spare Ribs, housemade Hatch Chile and Cheddar Hot Links, and Texas Sausages.
Sides That Don’t Suck
From handcrafted pasta and chicharrón breadcrumbs for the Mac and Cheese, to extensive recipe testing for the Coleslaw, Kalman dedicated his efforts toward ensuring that each dish on Soulbelly BBQ’s menu was crafted with full flavor in mind.
Further showcasing his creative side, Kalman has adorned the bar menu with rotating bites like superb Pigs In A Blanket, Frito Pie, Pickled Eggs, Chicharrón Chips, Pimento Cheese Dip and more.
Desserts include Soulbelly BBQ’s housemade Banana Pudding and Cookie Bars, as well as a selection of pies from PopNpies, made by acclaimed Pastry Chef Andrea McLean, formerly of Joël Robuchon.
Cooler Beer & American Whiskey
Keeping it classic, Soulbelly BBQ’s beer and cocktail program features American beers like Lone Star and Shiner, alongside locally brewed Nevada beers from neighboring downtown Las Vegas and Henderson breweries. Most notably, HUDL Brewing, Soulbelly BBQ’s next-door neighbor, is specially brewing the Charred & Shifty – an American red made with Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey barrel ashes in the mash.
Putting the Soulbelly spin on classic cocktails, the menu is dressed with sips including an Old Fashioned and Mint Julip, beside twists like the Sweet Tea Sangria and the Lunch Box – a blend of beer, Amaretto and orange juice. The restaurant’s solid whiskey and bourbon selection is currently at 37 bottles strong.
A Garage With Rustic Soul
Bringing Chef Kalman’s vision to life, this former automotive garage turned restaurant was carefully designed to reflect and honor the culture surrounding American BBQ. Paying homage to the bones of the building, Kalman kept subtle details and accents like tying in an original half royal blue painted wall. Murals on each side of the space showcase iconic figures like the Queen of Texas BBQ and pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz, alongside quintessential southern musicians like Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy.
Again tying in Kalman’s love for music, the back of the restaurant has a 16-by-8 foot stage, which will soon become home to live musicians from both Las Vegas and beyond. A few special accent features include Soulbelly BBQ’s mascot, an antique metal pig now named “Lambchop,” and the vintage beverage cooler parked near the front of the restaurant, which houses the canned and bottled beverage selection.
Merch, Sauce & BK Brinery
Patrons can take a part of Soulbelly BBQ home as the restaurant will have stylish wear from “Will Work for Brisket” shirts to logoed hats and more. Bottled sauces and rubs as well as Chef Kalman’s BK Brinery pickles will also be available for purchase.
Address & Hours
Soulbelly BBQ is located at 1327 S Main Street, Las Vegas, NV 89104
The restaurant will open at 11 a.m. daily.
Follow Soulbelly BBQ Online
Website – https://www.soulbellybbq.com
Facebook – @SoulbellyBBQLV
Instagram – @SoulbellyBBQLV
#soulbellybbq #jigglymeat #willworkforbrisket