Friends With Benefits: Kit Quirante
When it comes to her career, Kit Quirante has found success at Westgate Las Vegas. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to the U.S. at an early age and settled in Vegas in her teens. During high school she worked in retail on the Strip, but by the time she turned 21 she decided to get into the casino-hotel industry. Her first job was as a hostess at the now-demolished Fitzgeralds (which is now The D).
By 2002 she had moved to the Las Vegas Hilton, which has since become Westgate Las Vegas. And for nearly two decades it’s where she’s made her home, working her way up the ladder from hostess to her current position as the general manager of Benihana.
The restaurant has been on the property since the mid-’70s. “The staff, my team at the restaurant is incredible,” Quirante said. “We have long-term employees here, even since the day it opened. … whether it’s Benihana or the rest of the property—it’s a really friendly property—everyone has been here a really long time. We’re like family. It’s been my home away from home.”
Quirante feels immense pride as general manager, carrying on the tradition of assisting guests in having a memorable Benihana experience. “Benihana captures the traditions of Japan the minute you walk inside. It’s so Zen.”
And Quirante is equally as proud of her accomplishments at Westgate. “I’m very proud of myself,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard. I started at this property as a line employee, and now I’m running a restaurant that’s very well-known throughout the world. It’s gratifying-feeling, honestly.”
1964 Mai Tai
Once you walk through the front doors of Benihana, you’re transported to another world. The eatery has multiple experiences in dining—known as Benihana Village, guests can enjoy two floors of the traditional Benihana-style dining, or Chinese cuisine at Silk Road and more Japanese food at Rikki Tiki Sushi bar. Throughout the space are lush gardens and even a flowing waterfall in the center—the perfect spot to start your dining adventure with a specialty cocktail in hand, like the popular 1964 Mai Tai (that’s the year the first Benihana opened in New York). The cocktail is a blend of Myers’s Platinum rum, Monin almond syrup, Island Oasis sour mix, pineapple and orange juices, Hiram Walker triple sec and Angostura bitters, with a float of Hennessy X.O cognac.