Unable to seat diners, Las Vegas restaurants in survival mode

Ask a local chef or restaurateur about the mood in the industry these days, and the replies are discouragingly similar.

“The general feeling is an overwhelming sense of fear,” offers James Trees, who has stopped service at his Arts District restaurant Esther’s Kitchen as well as his Tivoli Village spot Ada’s, despite his initial impulses to carry on with limited service.

“Everybody is scared,” says Elizabeth Blau, who continues to operate her neighborhood restaurant Honey Salt, while her Strip operation, Buddy V’s in the Grand Canal Shoppes, is closed. “Everyone is terrified. Every time I walk into that restaurant, the cooks, the dishwashers, all these people are looking at me like: Is she coming to fire us? Is this our last day? People are absolutely terrified.”

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