Barbecue and breakfast. It’s an unorthodox combination but one that seems to be working well at Mountain West Eatery, a new restaurant near Decatur Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road.
Rick and Jenilyn Ruff opened the family-friendly spot in April, serving up breakfast hits like chicken fried steak, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk biscuits doused in sausage and bacon gravy, plus barbecue favorites like baby back or St. Louis-style ribs and smoked chicken and brisket.
“We couldn’t make up our minds,” Rick Ruff says of the diverse menu. “We know the breakfast business in Las Vegas is almost a no-lose restaurant. But barbecue is our love and what we do best, so we mixed the two. The breakfast portion is doing better now, but we’ve heard a lot of good feedback on the barbecue.”
The most popular dishes include a mountainous pulled pork sandwich ($10) seasoned with a special dry rub and served with fresh coleslaw, and the shrimp and grits ($13) with two eggs, chunks of bacon and green onions. The menu also includes more traditional options like pancakes, French toast and omelets for breakfast and salads, wings, burgers and Jenilyn’s gumbo ($9)—loaded with andouille sausage, chicken and vegetables—for lunch and dinner.
The Mountain West Eatery family is also behind the pair of popular D’Pinoy restaurants in Las Vegas, known for authentic and soulful cuisine from the Philippines. The Ruffs opened the first of those spots about six years ago shortly after moving here from Chicago, where Rick had retired after a long career as a probation officer and Jenilyn had operated a day care and other businesses.
D’Pinoy operations have soldiered on through the pandemic, initially focusing on takeout before recently reopening for dining, while the couple have focused on getting the new restaurant up and running.
“We’re in the storm right now,” Rick says. “I know we’re supposed to get hit with a second wave and we’re still in the first, or so they say. We will weather the first, because we’ve got enough customers to pay our bills and our workers. We’re not making a buck right now, and profit is way on down the road. But if we can maintain a high-quality, beautiful restaurant and keep it clean, as long as we keep doing that, our regulars will keep coming back and keep us afloat.”
MOUNTAIN WEST EATERY 5110 Blue Diamond Road, 702-844-8313. Daily, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.