Sustainability and giving back to the local community are featured items on the menu for Bob Katausky, who manages the eight primary food and beverage outlets at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nev.
“That’s where everything’s going—sustainability. Even when we buy snow crab,” Katausky said. “A lot of chefs now are very concerned with that. When I was young we could have abalone all the time, but now you have to be very conscious. It’s a global market. Years ago sushi used to be just Japan and then on the coasts, and now it’s everywhere.”
Katausky, who worked with casino giant Harrah’s for 11 years before joining Atlantis in 1989, also reaches out to budding area chefs—in addition to tapping talent from top hospitality schools such as Johnson & Wales University, Le Cordon Bleu and the Culinary Institute of America—when it comes to staffing his kitchens and banquet rooms.
“We want to give these kids a chance, and some of the smaller community colleges are putting out some great chefs,” he said, adding that his crew often chips in for local charity events such as benefits for Big Brothers/Sisters, junior diabetes and multiple sclerosis. “We’re part of a community rather than just part of a property.”
Dining outlets at Atlantis include the AAA Four Diamond Atlantis Steakhouse, Bistro Napa, Manhattan Deli, Toucan Charlie’s Buffet (which can accommodate up to 500 guests), Cafe Alfresco, Purple Parrot and the Sky Terrace Sushi Bar and adjacent Sky Terrace Oyster Bar.
Atlantis can handle groups of up to 1,200 for a banquet, and chef Katausky prides himself on the creative options he can offer to groups, especially through breakout tables brimming with ice cream or candy. Splitting menu options is also on the table for groups meeting at Atlantis, according to Katausky, such as a seafood and filet mignon combo.
Katausky changes up his group menu every quarter in order to incorporate as much local food as possible, which is greatly benefited by Reno’s close proximity to the bounty of California’s San Joaquin Valley. The property sources Chicago’s Allen Brothers for the meat in its high-end food outlets.
By utilizing the property’s many F&B venues, Katausky and the catering department can offer groups a wide variety of menu options, such as incorporating Asian cuisine or making sure that attendees with dietary restrictions such as food allergies, gluten-free or vegetarian can be accommodated.
“We’re very diversified—we can almost do anything here,” he said. “We’ve done Persian food, Indian food, Asian food, French food. We need help sometimes, but we get it done. Barbecues, luaus and clambakes—I don’t think there’s anything that really frightens us—we accept the challenge.
“We have guests say they love the Atlantis because it’s not on the ‘rubber chicken circuit,’” Katausky continued. “They’re expecting more, paying more and expect greater service and better food—you better believe it.”