Family Story

This dedicated Italian family fondly contributes it’s combined talents to bring the finest in food, drink, hospitality, and entertainment to the many friends and visitors who patronize their restaurant – continuing a family tradition in Las Vegas for over 65 years!
family

The Family

The Bootlegger Story

Ancestors, Luigi and Maria Zoia migrated from Padua, Italy to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in the early 1900s, bringing their family to a new land near “America”, where they would have the opportunity to reap the rewards of their strong work ethic and family commitment. Luigi and Maria built a large boarding house in Canada where they provided room and board for fourteen boarders. It was during the prohibition era in the United States and since Luigi served his homemade wine in the boarding house, he became known in the neighborhood as “The Bootlegger”. At the age of nine, their granddaughter, Maria was sent to live with her grandparents to help with the cooking and cleaning in the boarding house. In 1936, at the age of 19, Maria met and married Albert Perry, a young man from across the Niagara River in Niagara Falls, New York. In 1943, Maria and Albert (“Al”), along with their baby daughter Lorraine and Al’s 14 year old sister Madeline, embarked on an adventure that would change their lives forever. For personal health reasons, Maria and Al reluctantly left their family and friends in Niagara Falls, New York, and moved West to a little-known, dry and dusty town called Las Vegas, Nevada. By 1944, Maria’s exceptional culinary skills nurtured by her grandmother and Al’s affable, outgoing personality led them into the restaurant business. They honed their skills at the famous Fiesta Villa Ristorante of the 1940’s, where the “Legends of Hollywood” including Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Clara Bow and stars of the 1940’s “hung out” in Las Vegas.

 

  • 1949: Maria and Al opened their first Italian Restaurant with well known and respected Chef, Domenic Piscatelli.
  • 1955: While Liberace was the highest paid entertainer in Las Vegas earning $50,000 a week; Maria, Al, with family Angie and Lou Ruvo opened the Venetian Pizzaria on Fremont Street.
  • 1963: While Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack were causing global excitement on the Las Vegas Strip; Maria, Al, with family Angie and Lou Ruvo opened the Venetian Restaurant on West Sahara Avenue.
  • 1969: Maria and Al’s daughter Lorraine, now a Las Vegas singer and entertainer, opened the historic Landmark Hotel with her group, “The Lauri Perry Four”. Lorraine’s boss and owner of the hotel was Howard Hughes. With the money she earned from singing, Lorraine began to purchase vacant land in Las Vegas and on the “South Strip”.
  • 1972: While Elvis was electrifying Las Vegas audiences, Maria and Al joined forces with their daughter, Lorraine to build a restaurant on Lorraine’s land at Tropicana and Eastern. They named the restaurant, “The Bootlegger” in honor of Maria’s grandfather, Luigi.
  • 1994: As an entertainer, restaurateur, and small business advocate, Lorraine ran for political office and became a Clark County Commissioner and the first woman chairperson of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCA).
  • 1998: Lorraine was elected as the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of the State of Nevada leading Tourism and Economic Development.
  • 2001: Lorraine, Maria, Al, Cousin Joel Davies and family opened The Bootlegger Italian Bistro on Las Vegas Boulevard, “South Strip,” continuing the legacy.
  • 2003: Lorraine’s son, Ron Mancuso, joined the family team as chief operating officer. Ron’s background in the world of contemporary music as a guitar player, composer and music producer added a new generation of creativity and energy to the family business. As the Bistro grew to a 24-hour, 7 days a week operation, Ron’s leadership allowed his mother, Lorraine, to continue her public service commitment as Lt. Governor for the State of Nevada, where she served for eight years overseeing the state’s tourism and economic development initiatives, as well as serving as President of the Nevada State Senate.
  • 2006: Lorraine married recording artist and music variety talk show host Dennis Bono who brought his entertainment talents to the family enterprise.
  • 2012: Great-Grandmother Maria, Grandmother Lorraine, ‘Pa Pa’ Dennis, Ron and Cousin Joel welcomed Ron’s son, Roman to the work force at The Bootlegger adding the 4th generation to the legendary family restaurant.
  • This dedicated Italian family fondly contributes it’s combined talents to bring the finest in food, drink, hospitality, and entertainment to the many friends and visitors who patronize their restaurant – continuing a family tradition in Las Vegas for over 65 years!

 

The Bootlegger Today

The Bootlegger Today

1907

1907 Luigi was called the “Bootlegger” because he sold beer and wine in his boarding house in Canada when there was Prohibition in the United States. Young Maria developed her culinary skills by helping her grandmother cook for the boarders.

19121912 Teresa and Frank Perry’s wedding (Al’s parents)

19181918 Young Albert With his father, mother and brother.

19231923 At the age of twelve, Maria was planning the menus and creating new recipes with her grandmother.

19361936 Maria and Albert’s Wedding

19431943 Maria and Al The “Las Vegas” Story They moved to a new land of opportunity to fulfill their Italian American dream

19491949 Four Generations Maria, Maria’s mother, grandmother and daughter Lorraine.

19501950 Maria and “Al” Las Vegas New Restaurateurs

dennisloraineLorraine Marries Dennis Bono

robRon Mancuso

last2012 Roman and Zia begin part-time work