Diva Las Vegas: Martha Stewart's New Restaurant, The Bedford, Opens on the Strip

·6 min read
The Bedford by Martha Stewart
The Bedford by Martha Stewart

Palm + Ocean Digital

Her entrance was heralded by the quiet whir of a golf cart motor, the parting of the casino crowds, the turning of heads, and a woman suddenly declaring in a tone of wonder, "That's Martha Stewart!"

Not that anyone needed to say it. Everyone recognized the lady in the sparkly loungewear: Martha Stewart, television star, magazine publisher, business mogul. Martha Stewart, who rose to celebrity in the '80s as a model who became a stockbroker who became a caterer who became a New York Times bestselling author and one of David Letterman's favorite guests. Martha Stewart, who just launched a podcast and a line of meal kits and firmly denies rumors that she is dating Pete Davidson. Martha Stewart, whose product line stretches from your doorstep to the depths of your kitchen cabinet and includes a double vanity sink with whitewashed maple finish and nickel hardware as well as pumpkin spice CBD gummies. Martha Stewart, who states repeatedly, "I don't sleep very much."

The Bedford by Martha Stewart
The Bedford by Martha Stewart

Palm + Ocean Digital

RELATED: The Two Things Martha Stewart Always Keeps In Her Freezer

But for all the vastness of her empire and her branding, there has never been a Martha Stewart restaurant until The Bedford, newly opened at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino with a menu and setting based on Stewart's upstate New York home. While Westchester County patrician elegance may not seem to sync with Las Vegas's new-money glitz, Stewart herself has been coming to Vegas for "a very long time." She's met Siegfried and Roy "and their tigers," planned holiday decorations for the Bellagio and the Wynn, been up and down at the blackjack table, seen every single Cirque du Soleil show, as well as Bette and Adele and Celine.

"I like old Vegas," Stewart says, "And I like the billboards that I'm on." Sin City's newest diva-in-residence even dressed the part in a gold-glitter Fashion Nova sweatsuit for Saturday's launch luncheon and clinking glasses with Snoop Dogg at Friday's opening party decked out in Valentino chiffon and feathers: "Off the rack. He's a friend."

The Bedford by Martha Stewart
The Bedford by Martha Stewart

Palm + Ocean Digital

Each room in the Bedford resembles a room in Stewart's own home — well, not resemble. Duplicate. "He nailed it," she says of the efforts of executive design director Kevin Sharkey. "If he didn't nail it, he would not be sitting here right now."

The gray faux-bois finished walls, the white marble table- and bar tops, the cabinets of gleaming vintage glassware, and the Colonial-style bullseye mirrors all replicate the house in Bedford. One dining room looks like her bedroom, another the living room. The "patio" has her verdigris-finished outdoor furniture and the kitchen where chefs turn out lemon risotto and sour cherry-rosemary focaccia is decorated with the same copper pans and light fixtures as the one where Martha Stewart sips her morning cappuccino.

The Bedford by Martha Stewart
The Bedford by Martha Stewart

Palm + Ocean Digital

"Those beautiful half-sphere mercury lights," Stewart points out. "I searched for those lights and they reproduced them so effortlessly." The illuminated fake windows feature views of her own garden, which will be changed with the seasons, as will the menu.

And what about that menu? "What you'll eat here at the restaurant are dishes I serve at my own homes, recipes we have perfected over the years." The dishes themselves may not be flashy, but the top-quality ingredients (locally sourced when possible) and spot-on execution lift them out of the ordinary. Halibut is served in a pool of corn chowder and dotted with clams and tomatoes, a smooth blend of summer flavors. The roast chicken is simple made stand-out, glossy, golden and carved tableside. The dining-room finish is also given to the baked potatoes, which are smashed against a heavy wooden cutting board, rendering the solidly starchy interior fluffy. Deserts include a Pavlova that hides a sunshiny lemon tart under its billowing meringue, but, as the lady herself says, "Even more important than the food are the drinks!" The frozen pomegranate Martha-rita with its salt-sugar rim could easily be downed by the bucket, while those who are less pastel-drink-inclined can enjoy an ice-cold Martha-tini shaken up with Polish bison grass vodka.

RELATED: Make the Cocktail Martha Stewart Has Been Drinking All Summer

Stewart remains mindful that making the aspirational accessible is what she built a $400 million empire on. Diners can go for a 32-ounce prime rib and a bottle of Chateau Latour or they can order a Salade Nicoise and a Chimay. "You can splurge here and get very expensive dishes, but you can also eat very nicely for a bit more moderately," she says.

The Bedford by Martha Stewart
The Bedford by Martha Stewart

Palm + Ocean Digital

A dish that offers the homey and the luxe on the same plate is "Big Martha's" Pierogies, little potato-filled pillows that Stewart''s mother taught her to make back in Jersey City, that here are topped with Osetra caviar. "Big Martha" was a half-foot shorter than her daughter, but continues to loom large in her life.

RELATED: How to Bake the Perfect Pie, According to Martha Stewart

"She never complained, raised six kids, educated the whole family," says Stewart, adding, "She read The New York Times cover to cover every single day and she learned to use a computer when she was 85."

Stewart has the same sort of lifelong drive. "I'm always thinking: How can we make money while we're having so much fun?" she laughs, "That's the whole idea of a business in Las Vegas."

Indeed, Stewart is always thinking. Even while making conversation and fielding questions throughout a packed press lunch, she is still giving sotto voce memos to her staff on Baccarat glasses for wedding couples, the number of reservations on the books for tonight, things she wants adjusted, checked, followed-up on.

It's hard to imagine having eight decades and a few hundred million dollars under your belt; it's even harder to imagine having all of that and still constantly be looking for more. Even before the Bedford's doors were fully open, talk of another restaurant inspired by her home in Maine was already simmering, but who knows what corner of the marketplace Martha Stewart will conquer next — or if there's any corner left to be conquered. As Martha rises from the table, I ask her, "What's next?" A faint trace of a smile touches her lips as she glides toward the next eagerly waiting crowd. "What's not?"