Our Favorite Restaurants

/Our Favorite Restaurants

Our Favorite Restaurants

For 25 years, The Five Friends have spent the bulk of their lives in hotels, airports and restaurants.  While they have much in common both personally and professionally, one of the things they love most is great food and a great dining experience.  If you travel and find yourself stuck in a city without a clue of where to get a great meal, perhaps this list of restaurants will inspire you.  And if you have a favorite The Five Friends should know about, then let us know what it is so we can enjoy it too.


From Scott McKain:scott-mckain-headshot

Favorite restaurant in the city you live: As we split our time between Vegas and Indianapolis – and “best Vegas restaurant” is already one category – I’ll go with Sullivan’s in Indy.  Sure, it’s easy to recommend St. Elmo’s as THE place to go in Indianapolis (and we love it there). Sullivan’s is a chain…however, the quality of the service is extraordinary and the food is terrific.

Favorite Las Vegas restaurant: Picasso. The ultimate dining experience – both from a culinary and experience standpoint. You may need a second mortgage for the trip, but if any restaurant is worth it, it’s this one.

Favorite hotel restaurant: Proof on Main at 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville. The Five Friends have dined here together. Maybe it was the company I was keeping – however, this American Southern restaurant 30 miles from my hometown also made the list of the 101 Best Hotel Restaurants in the World (at #17).

Favorite restaurant anyplace:  Marque, Sydney. Hands down, the best dining experience I’ve ever had. You receive the menu after the meal – because you’re having whatever the chef is preparing. It’s eclectic – and amazing

Favorite new restaurant of 2014:  Giada. OK, perhaps it is the crush I have on the beautiful and charming namesake chef, but her new place on the Vegas Strip is extraordinary.


Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information, visit www.ScottMcKain.com.


From Larry Winget:larry-winget-headshot

Favorite restaurant in the city you live: Cowboy Ciao. This is the place my wife and I call our “best place to impress an out-of-towner” and it’s our go-to place in Scottsdale. Do not miss The Stetson Chopped Salad.

Favorite Las Vegas restaurant: B&B Ristorante in Las Vegas. The only place I’ve ever walked out of, got 100 feet away, turned around, gone back and said, “Let’s do it all again.” It was that good.  Don’t miss the beef cheek/duck liver ravioli or the grilled octopus.

Favorite hotel restaurant: Most of my favorite hotel restaurants are in Vegas since I travel there the most. So it’s Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace. The steak and pork chops are always great but I never miss the blue corn pancake with BBQ duck as an appetizer. And they usually have Pappy Van Winkle.

Favorite restaurant anyplace:  Da Silvano, New York City.  A great little Italian “joint” where the food is amazing and you will probably see celebrities as well.  If you are there during the right season, don’t miss the pumpkin soup.

Favorite new restaurant of 2014:  It’s not a new restaurant, but I just discovered it this year: Mustards Grill, Napa, CA.  The pasta will bring tears to your eyes.


Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.


From Joe Calloway:joe-calloway-headshot

Favorite restaurant in the city you live: City House, Nashville. An Italian/Southern restaurant but not what you’d think. For example, I love the NC catfish with cornmeal crust, cauliflower, tomato, anchovy, garlic, and chilies.  For Winget I recommend the belly pizza. You’d love it, Larry.

Favorite Las Vegas restaurant: Craftsteak at the MGM. Vegas is restaurant heaven and there are ten I could name as my favorite, but this one stands out for me. Bring a lot of money. A lot.

Favorite hotel restaurant: I’m going to cheat a little and say room service at the Hassler Hotel in Rome Italy.  Dinner with Annette in our room – the most memorable, fun, incredible meal ever.  I don’t even remember what we had, but it’s my favorite hotel in the world and the food is amazing.  At the top of the Spanish Steps.

Favorite restaurant anyplace: This is a favorite of mine “everyplace” – Fleming’s. Nothing over-the-top, it’s just a steakhouse chain, but I really appreciate the consistently good food and service.

Favorite new restaurant of 2014:  404 Kitchen in Nashville. Peach and pork ragout and Anson Mills skillet cornbread.  Shut….up.

For those who don’t know, Nashville is the new restaurant-center-of-the-universe. (just ask the New York Times)


Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com


From Mark Sanborn:

Mark Sanborn headshot(2)

Favorite restaurant in the city you live: Linger, Denver. Formerly O’Linger’s mortuary (really), with a great vibe including an amazing rooftop bar and some of the tastiest food ever. The flavors are a mash up of many cultures and always delicious. Smaller portions make it great for variety and sharing. Plus it won’t break the bank.

Favorite Las Vegas restaurant: Public House. Yes, it is a chain but if you’re a beer lover who wants knowledgeable staff, an interesting selection and good food, this is a reprieve from the typical high-end eateries. (Mesa Grille is just another of many that I could easily put on my LV list.)

Favorite hotel restaurant:  River Bar at The Cloisters. Don’t think bar food; think gourmet food in an elegant bar setting where the whole family is comfortable. The scallops are amazing; the Smoked Sazerac is one of my favorite drinks of all time.

Favorite restaurant anyplace: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. Consistently excellent seafood wherever you find one, even in the Houston Intercontinental airport.

Favorite new restaurant of 2014:  Colt + Gray in Denver. Great charcuterie selections, a sophisticated beverage list, innovative western cuisine and friendly service. Took my pal Larry Winget there last time he was in Denver and he’ll vouch for this one, too.


Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.



From Randy Pennington:randy-pennington-headshot

Favorite restaurant in the city you live: This is a tough choice. Lucia in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas is a small chef-owned Italian restaurant. You have to make reservations a month in advance so getting in takes planning. Stephen Pyles Restaurant is always a treat. Big, bold flavors. Bring some bucks. It is worth it.

Favorite Las Vegas restaurant: Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. I’m a sucker for amazing Southwestern food, and no one does it better than Bobby Flay’s team. Try the Blue Corn lobster tacos and the New Mexican spiced-rubbed pork tenderloin.

Favorite hotel restaurant:  La Playa Carmel, Carmel by the Sea. My wife and I stayed at this 75-room historic hotel years ago, and I’ll never forget it. It is mostly lighter fare including lots of seafood. The crab cakes were stunning.

Favorite restaurant anyplace: Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale. Everything Larry said about this place is absolutely true. My wife and I go there every time we are in Phoenix. I’ve never had anything less than an amazing meal there

Favorite new restaurant of 2014:  Medina Oven & Bar, Victory Park in Dallas. The owner brings his home land of Morocco alive with authentic spices and herbs mixed with savory cuisine and a casual environment. Great patio when the weather is nice.


Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.PenningtonGroup.com.

By | 2016-10-29T15:29:21+00:00 December 8th, 2014|Five Friends, Others|