Robert Irvine brings muscle into the kitchen
Robert Irvine is nothing less than a hospitality and media mogul. The Robert Irvine Show is his tough-love talk show where he offers advice and support for families, veterans and anyone in need. He recently partnered with a Gold’s Gym to create a new fitness facility in Largo, Fla. His Robert Irvine Live interactive experience is still popping up for shows all over the world, and his online magazine is capturing everything, rolling recipes and news and fitness help into a single portal that defines his lifestyle brand.
But ask Irvine how he stays on top of his varied endeavors and he’s quick to simplify. “I want to inspire people through food and fitness daily,” he says. “I just don’t want to be one-dimensional. I’m a chef by trade but that doesn’t limit me to opening restaurants and serving pizza or filet mignon or whatever. Nobody says you have to eat rabbit food and go to the gym seven days a week. We all have to make lifestyle choices, and I want to help you indulge in good food and drink but in moderation, and then I want to influence you to go to the gym or go walking or play basketball with your kids.”
The idea of moderate indulgence is on full display at Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana, a 9,000-square-foot dining room where casual comfort is the name of the game and the menu is stocked with hearty favorites crafted with high-quality ingredients including burgers, pizzas, fish and chips and shepherd’s pies, not to mention signature cocktails.
“The rabbit pie is just ridiculous, off the chain, and people are going crazy for it,” Irvine says. “We’ve added some more traditional English pub dishes that weren’t there for the opening, and the menu will always change because we have so many repeat customers and locals. My travels have a lot to do with what we put in at the restaurant, but it’s always what guests are asking for.”
Irvine explains the biggest surprise in the continuing development of his first Las Vegas restaurant is his diners’ desire to sample as many dishes as possible. “Everyone wants to taste the menu. A party of four will come in and order seven or eight items and it was kind of a shock to me. Vegas is a unique market. People don’t want appetizer, soup or salad, and entrée. Our Vegas menu has to be eclectic because everyone wants to try four or five things. I like that but it’s unusual for me.”
The success of Public House is spurring other projects for Irvine. For example, his Robert Irvine Foods group develops new products for retail and restaurant service, and its new chicken wings are about to be served on the Strip. He also just launched a “recovery tea” product and is expanding his line of protein bars.
In growing his media empire, Irvine is looking to flip the switch in 2018 on new projects with the Travel Channel and Food Network. “TV really helps with branding but I’m not going to change what I do. I’m a chef and that’s something I can use to inspire through food and other lessons in life,” he says. “The great thing about TV is you’re on every week so people feel like they know you. When they see you, they run up and hug you and punch you in the arm and do all those things you do with friends and family. It allows your viewers to better connect with your personality.”
Robert Irvine’s Public House Tropicana, 11 a.m.-close Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-close Sat.-Sun. 888.381.8767