Friends With Benefits: Dora Pane
It’s the real deal at Fresco Italiano at Westgate Las Vegas—from the ambience and the chef to the food and even the general manager, Dora Pane, who was born and raised in Naples, Italy.
“Food is so important to Italian culture,” Pane says. “It’s a part of your lifestyle. It’s about community. It brings people together.” Her family was in the restaurant and catering business when she grew up in Naples, and her father was a maître d’ and her grandmother, a chef.
For the past year, Pane has been at the helm of Fresco Italiano, making sure that guests of the restaurant enjoy the authentic experience. Helping steer a restaurant towards success is second nature to Pane—during the past two decades she’s helped manage many Strip venues at properties including Wynn, The Venetian, Flamingo and Caesars Palace.
“For me, life is a celebration,” Pane says. That translates to food and her guests, she says. She loves watching them enjoy their time at Fresco. “Each restaurant that I have managed, I have adapted myself. I make each restaurant important—my team, my guests.”
Pane is also proud of her staff. “My kids, my family I call them,” she says, smiling. “I want to mentor my staff, motivate them, help them in their careers. I want them happy and excited to work. I always tell my team members when I assign a station, ‘It’s your restaurant,’ because they’ve been given the tools and the knowledge to take care of the guests.”
Fresco Italiano recently revamped its cocktail menu, updating both classic and specialty cocktails. Guests can order classics like a Bellini or Negroni, or indulge in specialty cocktails with an Italian twist, such as the Tuscan Lemon Drop or the Sicilian Sunset. Perfect for the winter months is a new specialty cocktail, the Pumpkin Spice—a creamy blend of Stoli Vanil vodka, Baileys pumpkin spice liqueur, Kahlúa and half and half. Order one of the cocktails to go along with Pane’s favorite dish on the menu, osso bucco. “It’s the best ever, anywhere,” she says. “It’s very tender, very juicy, delicious. You have to try it.”