Thursday, November 23, 2017

M&M Soul Food Restaurant, giving Las Vegas its best

by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud

Owned and operated by Tim Gee, M&M Soul Food Restaurant has been a dining institution for 40 years.

Owner/operator Tim Gee says M&M Soul Food Restaurant looks to create a homey atmosphere from the moment you walk through the door.

Founded by “Mississippi Marie” (for whom the eatery is named), M&M was first established in Los Angeles, with its Las Vegas outpost, at 3923 W. Charleston Blvd., opening in 2005. It quickly established a loyal — and ever-expanding — clientele, and regulars will tell you that it’s truly a place where everyone knows your name.

“When you come through our doors, you will first hear a heartfelt greeting from our staff,” said Gee. “It will feel like walking into your own home. We work hard to create a homey atmosphere where you can meet other great people in Las Vegas.”

M&M specializes in traditional soul food delights, which has resulted in a number of signature menu items.

“People seem to love our fried chicken and catfish,” said Gee, “but the real item in tremendous demand is our chitterlings. I can’t seem to keep them in the restaurant. I can’t tell you how many pounds we go through in one day.”

Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the goal at M&M is to make customers feel at home. It is not unusual for staff members to ask diners to pose for photographs that can be hung on the restaurant’s “Hall of Fame Wall.” Those who do will join the ranks of several celebrities — boxing champion Mike Tyson, actor Danny Glover and blues legend BB King among them — who have enjoyed meals there.

“M&M has really become a part of the Las Vegas culture,” said Gee. “When people come to Vegas from all over the world, if they know about our restaurant, they come here directly from the airport. The restaurant wouldn’t be anything … without our great employees, who keep it going. Down to every detail, the staff works hard to keep our standards high and make every customer feel comfortable. They are my family.”

As the world honors the life of Whitney Houston, Gee revealed in an interview that he was a guest at the party where the pop titan gave a brief performance that would turn out to be her final time on stage.

“I was invited by my good friend … Faith Evans, and it was very crowded — and to my surprise, star-studded. I really got excited when I saw that Whitney Houston was in the room and thought about making my way over to invite her to our restaurant when she visits Las Vegas. People were elbow-to-elbow, so I stayed in the VIP section. But I saw Whitney standing up the whole time, without any cocktail in her hand. She looked great, and healthy — and it was exciting to see her come on stage, because she was not scheduled to do so. It was just a great time.”

Gee acknowledges that operating a restaurant is not easy, but he relieves his stress with regular yoga workouts. He attributes M&M’s success to its great product and  spirits of Mississippi Marie and her brother, Ventress, who was Gee’s onetime business partner.

“I am very passionate about making everyone who comes to our restaurant happy,” said Gee. “I know I can’t make everyone happy — but Lord knows we try.”

For more information, go to M&Msoulfoodcafe.com

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