Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.
As colorful as a palate of paint and as disarming as a golden retriever, the epitomes designer and creative, Ken Fulk is a man that exudes delight and wonder with impeccable sophistication. Having a few moments to speak with this delightful designer and impresario was indeed a privilege. Mr. Fulk enthusiastically shared his creative vision for Las Vegas, namely his newest design effort, Sadelle’s located in the former Bellagio Café adjacent to the hotel’s popular garden conservatory in Las Vegas Nevada. Working closely with restaurant visionary Major Food Group in creating culinary outlets of superb quality, Fulk along with Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi have formed a restaurateur dream team filled with interactive synergy in shaping spaces into dining destinations.
Please tell us about this exciting new project here at the Bellagio Las Vegas.
KF: So Carbone was our first project in Vegas. This is our second collaboration with Major Food Group and the MGM corporation. We have great simpatico. With Carbone it was like how do take a classic, almost like Good Fellas Italian restaurant, tucked into the west end of new York and reimaging that in Vegas. In my mind it was Opera, with all these wonderful banquettes where everyone is looking at each other, where no one had their backs to the door. We placed the giant chandelier from a Ferrari dealership in Philadelphia. When we got the task of reimagining Sadelles, which is a charming new York storefront, I wonder how we were going to reimaging that for Las Vegas. For me it was a French Brasserie, all day long bustling with people and activity and beautiful displays of food along with the classic elements that existed in Sadelle’s in New York; certainly our color palette the blue, pink and green and reimagining it here and centered with a great bar. We reoriented and created a staircase with a real sense of arrival while segmenting the restaurant so there is more of a French café scene looking out to the pool and gardens. The bar looks out over the restaurant and the conservatory and the main dining room is anchored with centered with large glamorous banquettes. It is typical Vegas fashion like poof and we are here.
You are indeed extremely creative, with many different outlets, including Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World and Dering Hall.
KF: I am a lucky man, God made a job for me. Really it all goes back to being a child when I would pick out my little blue blazers I would pick out the buttons and it was made for me. It was about storytelling. As a kid I was in charge of every holiday and most Sunday suppers. My parents owned restaurant growing up so that had to do with the culture of it part of it, but it all seemed to be more about how life got lived. It was important to me that all these moments matter. I learned the word flambé early in life. When I saw the word on the menu, I knew they were going to light something on fire. So I loved the showmanship. This goes along well with Vegas where life is a show, and everything is ready for its close up. We are very well aligned with this.
How did you develop you relationship with MFG?
KF: I was at my home in Cape Cod when I received a phone call from this brash sounding New Yorker, Jeff Zalaznick, and he told me about Sadelle’s concept and we have this wonderful woman who is going to do the bagels. I thought why are calling me to do a bagel store but that was not it, he want to work with someone who understands us, who speaks the same language and tell our story. I knew the idea of it, and Saddles is the name of one of their grandmothers. So I went back to San Francisco since this was before our NY studio and came up with some storyboards for a presentation and flew back to meet the group at Carbone. I set up my presentation and said this is Sadelle’s. Jeff said this is the best presentation he had ever seen. We instantly hit it off and we knew we sort of fit together. Since then we have worked on multiple projects and I have designed homes for them. They have become dear personal friends. There are a lot of great designers out there but the end of the day it is about relationships. Relationships should be treated with respect and care and we do that with one and another, it is exciting. I truly have made my life up. That’s how we do it from shoes, to books, to candles, to restaurants and why not? It has been an exciting ride.
I see on your Instagram that you are a big animal proponent, especially golden retrievers.
KF: Oh Yes, I am. We have 3 goldens and a funny little wiener dog. I am an emeritus board member of the SPCA. We love animals and center our lives around them.
What is the first thing you look at when you are assessing a space?
KF: At Carbone we did much more physical work but here I thought about my own 4000 square foot loft that when people came in they were always surprise at how big it was because I had divided it into smaller more intimate spaces. So we did this here; You have the bar, café and the grand glamorous dining space with the great banquettes and of course color. Some people are afraid of color, but I am not. Another bold move was the flooring. We introduced bold geometric graphic flooring throughout the bar and dining room and then beautiful reclaimed French oak all through the café and entry.
Now have you worked on these projects do you have more projects planned for LV?
KF: We would be well suited for it. We certainly enjoy this and we work with an amazing group of people. Yes, I do think we will have more projects, maybe a real 1950’s night club? Wouldn’t that be fabulous?