Friends With Benefits: David Barragan
What's one reason David Barragan loves being the general manager of Ambra Italian Kitchen + Bar? "I love building teams and I love the internal rally cry," says the New Jersey native. "When we're about to get into a busy day and we know that everyone has to dial it in and everyone knows what their output has to be for the day and they're jazzed about it—it's similar to sports, similar to having that high level of competition and just the overall camaraderie of going into battle or taking the field together."
Barragan has loads of experience helping build teams and leading the charge—he's been in the food and beverage industry since his late teens, and he's held a management position for different restaurant groups in cities including New York, Miami and for the past four years in Las Vegas at restaurants inside The Venetian, The Linq Promenade and Park MGM. He joined Ambra soon after its opening in late August.
"Ambra is that modern dining experience," he says. "It's that beautiful Milan-at-dusk vibe. In the middle of dinner here, the lighting is absolutely perfect and the amber glow from the bar has a very inviting vibe to the restaurant."
When Barragan isn't basking in the glow of Ambra, you can find him on the soccer field or golf course or hanging with his wife and their mastiff dog and Siamese cat. But honestly, he says, his concentration lies in building a stellar reputation for Ambra. "Long-term goals are to get people to come back here on their next trip to Vegas," he says. "To be a successful restaurant you have to have the trifecta: really good food, great service and amazing ambience. I think we possess all three."
Malfy Gin Cocktail
"Malfy gin is from Northern Italy," Barragan says. "They use lemon peels from the Amalfi Coast and the grains are specifically from Italy. It's also the first gin that's imported from Italy." The Malfy Gin Cocktail is the perfect way to start your dining experience. The crisp, slightly floral flavor of the cocktail comes from the mix of Malfy gin, St. George spiced pear liqueur, simple syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and apple bitters; it's topped with pear cider and garnished with a mint sprig. Hint: For a special cocktail experience, ask about the speakeasy inside the restaurant.
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