This Just In – Champion Gourmet and Paymon’s Mediterranean Bistro (Downtown) Close

Actually, news of both closings is over a week old. It’s just that ELV and his staff have been kinda busy lately, and didn’t post this news immediately upon hearing it.

We suppose all that great Mediterranean food of Paymon’s just didn’t catch on with the downtown crowd…

What happened to Champion Gourmet is anyone’s guess, but we are saddened by the news. It had some of the tastiest soups, dumplings and Taiwanese fare in town at prices that were too good to be true. Maybe that was the problem. (sigh)

Word is that Paymon’s space (the former Tinoco’s space) will continue to operate as a restaurant with the landlord running things. We drove by last night and a new banner above the space read: “Italian Continental Gourmet Restaurant.” The continent being referred to was not specified.

We have bananas that will probably have a longer shelf life.

37 thoughts on “This Just In – Champion Gourmet and Paymon’s Mediterranean Bistro (Downtown) Close

  1. In regards to the Paymon’s/Tinoco’s spot, I can’t help but think of that real estate mantra: location, location, location.

  2. They seemed busy the four or five odd times I went in, and the food and service were up to the standards of the Maryland location. I wonder if it wasn’t a more complicated arrangement with said landlord that did them in…

  3. I spoke with the folks at The Arts Factory last night, and they’ll be reopening the restaurant this week as a little Italian restaurant. I’ll be trying it on its very first dinner test run, so wish me luck!

  4. Ok, now I’m really sad…we don’t need another Italian place downtown and we don’t need another mexican place. Paymons and Champion gave us some variety. We really need to help promote downtown so we don’t lose more places. Downtown still has a reputation of being the underbelly…if we all work together we can enlighten others regarding the culture and individuality of Downtown. Ugh, sad.

  5. Donna W-

    I dunno. Usually I’d agree with you, but I was never really blown away by Paymon’s. If a lame Middle Eastern joint is replaced by a good Italian restaurant, I’ll be happy.

    However, I’m really saddened to see Champion go. It really served up great grub, and it just didn’t deserve this fate.

    And btw, getting back to Downtown, The Arts Factory‘s new restaurant will be called “Bar+Bistro”. And since the web site isn’t up yet, let me give you a sneak preview of what’s to come. It’s starting out for lunch Monday through Friday, and it will expand to full dinner service Monday through Saturday. They have plenty of salads and sandwiches on the menu (a no-brainer for lunch service), along with some pastas and meat dishes (probably what will be the more popular dinner choices).

    I’m not seeing any booze on the menu, so I guess I’ll have to wait until Friday to see if they have their liquor license yet. The chef/owner was pretty friendly when I met him last night and seemed pretty knowledgeable about good Italian cooking, so I’m cautiously optimistic going into Friday dinner…

  6. Paymon’s had a wait for lunch almost every time I ate there, and I found the food and service to equal or surpass that of the other locations. Based on lunches, I’d say the Downtown crowd was happy it was there. As I understand it, it was doomed from the start; leases can be tricky things.

  7. Sam, John, Donna and James you are all at least partially correct in your assumptions. Location is critical for any business and there is no question that we were affected by this. Not only is the south end of downtown less inhabited, there is virtually no foot traffic.

    We were open Mon-Fri lunch only because there was very little interest coming from guest polling concerning evening operations. First Fridays was not all that busy on a consistent basis and there were thousands of people milling around and through the building. The barbed wire fencing across the street was quite intimidating even in the daylight. Our operation is quite expensive to run because we approach our business with the mentality of quality and we always pay our employees through a payroll company and pay the proper payroll taxes. Every business has a break even point and operating in the evening would have been a disaster for us.

    The constant roadwork and detours with all of its dust and misdirected signage didn’t help. The new place stands a much better chance as the bus route will soon open up. It appears that the route is several months late in getting started. When we signed the lease we were under the impression the route was going to start in January.

    John and James, I will go on record saying that at our other two locations we have established incredible relationships with our landlords. They are very highly regarded business people that do quite a bit to support our businesses. We couldn’t be more pleased than with Mr. Tito Tiberti and Great American Capital and there is great mutual respect. These companies are highly regarded and have quite a presence in Las Vegas.

    Donna mentioned something that is quite accurate. The Southern tip of Downtown is a very unique situation that requires more community support than other parts of town. The lack of foot traffic and it’s limited lunch hour due to court schedules creates a very unique situation. Our lunchtime was packed from 12pm -1 pm and that was the timeframe we had to generate revenue to offset all of the fixed and variable costs. We pay our employees quite well and I selected the strongest employees from the existing two locations to work the Bistro. We also have a significant expense budget for health and sanitation procedures. We received more compliments and less complaints than the other two full service locations. But, when you are open 20 days per month and with state and federal holidays making it impossible to open, it is difficult to make it work. With the state budget cuts, I imagine Fridays will be extremely slow as the state empoyees will be most likely be working Mon-Thurs.

    We created so many special relationships with the people downtown and we were quite saddened that we had to pull out. Times are pretty tough out there and we gave it our best shot. We are doing quite well at our other two locations and hopefully we can continue to look forward to future growth.

    I hope our community better understands the importance of supporting the smaller, independently owned businesses. With minimum wage increases and the rising cost of doing business only the very large companies can sustain such economic turbulence without community minded support.

    If we want the Globe Salons, Paymon’s, Champion Gourmet’s to succeed, we have to think differently. That is why my business to business partners are predominantly smaller businesses. I have always given the smaller companies a chance.

    Thanks to all that supported Paymon’s downtown and continue to support us at MP and WS. Jeff Ecker-Corporate GM

  8. Hi Jeff,

    I’m happy you took the time to personally address the situation. My intent, as I’m sure you could tell, was to be diplomatic to all parties involved, while making it clear that many Downtowners were thrilled that Paymon’s was operating there, and that other factors were likely at play in the seemingly sudden departure.

    Myself, the employees of Globe Salon, and many of our guests certainly hoped that Paymon’s tenure would be a long term success for Downtown, but I certainly understand that there are innumerable factors involved in running a professional operation of which most are unaware.

    We continue to enjoy Paymon’s other locations (in fact, we did so tonight), and hold out hope that we’ll see your return to Downtown as soon as it makes sense for your business!

  9. Just had lunch at Bar + Bistro at the Arts Factory. Will not be going back. I had a vegetable panini and my friend had the chicken panini. The chicken was a fried chicken patty and the vegetables were tough. The “panino bread” was a thick pita and not grilled. At 1:00 pm there were less than 10 people in there. People eating next to us when asked if they wanted to take their pasta with them debated. They finally decided to take it but with no enthusiasm. Too bad.

  10. I am a local downtown homeowner who has had the pleasure, over the years, of sampling each restaurant that has leased the space in The Arts Factory. A response to Jeff–from a downtown resident’s point of view, Paymon’s was never open during hours I could attend. I ate there once on a day off, and was not polled, or asked, if I was interested in dinner hours. There are many locals who crave new venues, and it was disappointing that Paymon’s was not open for dinner (Tinoco’s always had a good dinner crowd…) nor were they open on preview Thursdays or First Fridays, which seemed strange to us: a restaurant leasing in an art collective building that closes its doors to the art crowd? I do like the new place…spent a nice cocktail hour outside the restaurant on the patio, and I look forward to eating the spinach salad and salmon entree at the new Bar + Bistro again…yum…for dinner!

  11. I am saddened by the somewhat negative tone on some of the comments above about Bar & Bistro at The Arts Factory. Paymon’s was not, in my mind, very supportive of the 18b arts district – they were open for lunch -period. I LOVE the new Bar & Bistro – Chef Franco and his family are delightful; Chef Franco’s CV is extensive – he is a very well-known chef both internationally and nationally. Obviously Tony Marnell thought so as well as he asked him to move to Las Vegas to open the Pane Vino. So BA HUMBUG to those that found the food not to their liking! It is excellent, the ambiance in the restaurant is warm and embracing . In addition, I applaud the efforts (since 1993) of the Arts Factory for their hard work and dedication to the emerging local artists – both visual and performing. We are fortunate to have such dedicated citizens in Las Vegas who truly care about what Mayor Goodman refers to as the “heart of Las Vegas.”

  12. I personally am glad that Paymons closed down at the downtown location. I wish ALL of their locations plummet and have to close FOR GOOD!!

    They treat their employees poorly and do not pay them well, no matter what Jeff says. They pay the servers minimum wage and NO ONE is offered health benefits. The GM, Frank Cristiano and Jeff Ecker both induldge in smoking marijuana (this is the truth). Ummm. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this place is horrible.

    Let’s see. What about firing someone who worked there for 3 years, got promoted to supervisor, called in 3 times the whole three years they worked there and never had any complaints? This person was in a car accident and had all kinds of stress happening in their life and could not even get supprt from her workplace, the same workplace that said they consider their employees like “family”?

    All that she got was FIRED after being told she “could not be scheduled to work until she had a full release from the Dr.,” even though they were accepting her light duty notes before…. this person has six herniated discs and adjusted her schedule to accomodate Paymons, even while going to FULL TIME nursing school.

    This is the thanks a place like Paymons gives to loyal, honest, hard working individuals. They fire someone who was ALWAYS there and never complained! Frank tells his supervisor she can’t be scheduled until he gets that note, but lies and schedules her anyway. She thought she wasn’t allowed to work, but they put her on the schedule anyway… hmmm. A bit under-handed and sneaky, at best. Crooked way to deal with people, don’t you think? Grow a set and fire someone the right way!

    Don’t feel sorry for this place. They also had to pay a ton of back pay to several ex-employees for unpaid overtime. Thank goodness for the Labor Board! They abuse their employees and act like saints. Get a clue! And let me tell you something… there is nothing “Big” about “Big Daddy” (you know who you are!)

  13. P.S. I also know for a fact that they got a lot of their so-called “family” recipes off the internet! Even their hummus recipe! Talk about sad…

  14. Man, just because you got fired, dont post your employee rants on this site. Thats what craigslist is for.
    And what do you got against smoking weed, you effen commie.
    If you were good enough, maybe you could get a strip job, and not bitch about small town shit like this. Have fun at the well fare center.

  15. Wow. Big words for such a little man. You have no idea who I am, nor what my intelligence level is. I am sure Paymons would love to hire a stripper. I am no commie you dumb S.O.B. Everyone has smoked weed at some point. But um… let’s see. A company that drug tests people, but has higher-ups doing drugs? Are you serious?

    And just because you probably knocked up a bunch of whores and they are on welfare because you can’t support your kids doesn’t mean that I am. Grow up.

  16. Thanks for reading about what a fabulous company Paymons is! You rock. I think it is you who is the crack head, dear.

  17. Did anyone notice he spelled “welfare” wrong? Sounds like he needs to go back to school! I don’t see anything wrong with someone sharing the truth about a restaurant on this site! I personally don’t want to support a place that does this to their help. Also, it appears that the person who’s name is “Lynn is a crackhead” has no balls because they can’t even put their real name on there. That took your credibility WAY down!

  18. OK, WTF just happened here??!! Troll attack?

    Anyway, so far I’ve had nothing but great grub at Bar+Bistro, so I’m glad they replaced Paymon’s. :-)

  19. I have a good mechanic on Main street and waiting to get my car fixed I was strolling around the area and then I saw this Bar & Bistro. I had no idea that this place had taken over after the Paymon’s was closed I was glad I ended up at this place. There is not much choice for a short lunch in Downtown. Most of the places close to the Courthouse, are crowded and I usually end up at a taco place with mariachi band serenading me. The sandwich I had at the B&B was not only the best I ever had and the menu was one of the healthiest menu’s that have seen around town-downtown or anytown. I made a mental note that I have to return for dinner.The service was superb. As far as Paymon’s, I have eaten at the West Sahara location..I have nothing positive to say about it. Bar & Bistro will do well, but I would not bank of the “First Friday” alone. My attorney, knows about this place….he is a very competant….he just got my traffic ticket reduced to a 2nd degree manslaughter…..

  20. I was married to that cold fish for way too long…. so, I had to find a new man while I was still married to him… if that tells you anything. If anyone’s a “crackhead”, it’s Mr. I-think-I’m-big-daddy….

  21. Children, children! Let’s confine our comments to the food, service and decor shall we?

    But if you insist…the only person who should be personally attacked and insulted on this website is ELV….

    He’s a big boy. He can take it.

    All other ad hominem attacks will be relegated to the sandbox.

  22. Thanks, ELV. There’s plenty of places to complain and be snarky, whether justified or not, on the reviews. Perhaps there’s even room to agree :-) There’s certainly no room for ad hominem attacks.

  23. Jonh~ I think Lynn was talking about the service, etc. by speaking about the way her friend was treated while employed at Paymons.

    I think an insider’s view is valuable and people should definitely know that the money they are spending is SUPPORTING the ill treatment of their employees. It’s just unfortunate that is has to be said on ELV’s website. I personally will not return to Paymons after reading this. What kind of company does this to their employees?? I am sure it happens way too much and we just never get to hear about it! I hope the owners/managers/ “Jeff” are happy that they allow this kind of treatment to the people that are slaving away making them their precious little pennies. I too hope they go out of business!

  24. All ELV will say about this highly parochial brouhaha is that Paymon’s hummus does, (and always has), taste(d) like the recipe comes off the Internet. It is soulless Mediterranean food cooked for credulous college students and cheapskate customers. To its supporters ELV says: longevity because of low prices is nothing to brag about. Just look (under no circumstances taste) at the Hush Puppy — the once and always worst restaurant in town.

  25. “Awarded Best French Fries from The Las Vegas Weekly??? Wow that’s sure an award a MEDITERRANEAN restaurant should hang their hat on. Who did best Hummus go to? Paymon’s food is awful (i mean just disgusting) and their return customers’ taste buds are about as effective as Paris Hilton is hiding cocaine.

  26. ELV disbarred?

    E gads! Why I bet after some quick and dirty Vegas style litigation, ELV will be wearing the chef’s hat at Paymons pouring drinks on the house to celebrate his defamation lawsuit victory

  27. Give me a break, Jeff. Like anyone is supposed to believe that careless banter. Grow up. You are just as “mature” as anyone else that writes falsehoods. The only people that get to work at Paymons are people who are related to you or are in for other reasons. And, talk about defaming someone! You’re lucky that girl doesn’t slap a law suit on your ass!!!!

  28. P.S. I do not see the letters: “Ph.D.” after your name, so I am not quite sure how you feel you can diagnose someone!

  29. In regard to the earlier post by Jeff, words cannot explain how disgusting you are. It truly amazes me that someone who claims someone was “defaming several good employees” thinks it is OK to come on here and defame someone else. Look who’s the pot calling the kettle black! And, I keep an eye on Craigslist several times a day. I have yet to see any kind of “attack” on your precious little drones for employees. OH NO! John and Jessica are banned from Paymons! WAH! BFD, Jeff! There are plenty of places in town to eat REAL MEDITTERANEAN cuisine, unlike your fast-food-drive-thru style crap you serve. You won best french fries? WOW!!! What an accomplishment. I really have to agree with the above posts about how that really should not be something to be proud of. From my conclusion, it seems that it is YOU with the problem. You just made Paymons company look like total crap and you definitely showed your true colors!! Hope you gloat in what I would call EMBARASSMENT. And, I am sure that there are at least anywhere from four to eight people you guys have canned in the last twelve months…. why are you pointing the finger at one person? Must be all that crack or weed you smoke… whatever. If anyone is schizophrenic, it appears that it would be you. Especially that reference you made about posting to Craigslist… did you use a pseudonym for that? Was that your paranoid little boy coming out to play on the web? Grow up. What goes around, comes around!

  30. with the garbage italian weekly, the inbred style posts as above, including your letter of the week on Paymons – John Curtas your losing your professonal apeal; relating to food. Do something about it.

  31. ELV, you should delete the posts relating to anything except the food and service. This site is to critique food not listen to someone vent spleen or some idiot talk about how wonderful the restaurant they own or manage is. Further, you should try to weed out the P.R. trolls who make up reviews to support the restaurant paying them. Yes, sometimes watching the retards gesticulate and grunt is entertaining but it has nothing to do with critiquing food.

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