The question everyone is asking is, “When is Jimmy’s@Madisons opening?”
In an interview with the Spectrum, we posed that question to Jimmy Emerson and got an exasperated look. Jimmy threw up his hands and said, “Gawd! I wish I knew,” and then he smiled. “Honey, I get the same question, dozens of times every day, via phone, Facebook, text, Instagram, Twitter, and even in the grocery store. My answer is always the same, ‘I don’t know.’”
Emerson, the diva performer, known all over Vegas as “Jimmy Emerson,” but known more nationally as “Roxie Star,” partnered up with his husband, Jim XXXX, Jim Lash and Neal Dorfman, to open the first bar, restaurant and cabaret for the local LGBTQ community. The club will have a 24-hour restaurant, live entertainment, a New York/Broadway themed bar and of course the prerequisite Las Vegas gaming machines. They did it right during the world’s worst pandemic in over 100 years.
“If I only knew,” continued Jimmy. “Its been more than a year of permits, inspections, upgrades, ADA compliance and of course, there’s the health department, Nevada Gaming Commission, the Liquor Control Board, zoning and of course contractors. We wait for permits, the contractors get busy and then we wait for inspections and then more permits, more approvals and back to work. The only thing that never seems to stop are the bills,” he says with a grimace.
“Today we’re waiting for final approval of things like seismic standards. Do you realize Las Vegas has had four earthquakes in the past few months?
“What’s ironic,” Jimmy continued, “If we had leased the space a couple months earlier, we would have qualified under a ‘grandfather clause,’ and could have avoided most of the construction and upgrades. Guess it doesn’t always pay to take the time to carefully create your business plan,” he laughed.
“When I started this project with my two wonderful partners, we had something called a ‘budget,’ and that ran smack into something called ‘codes.’ The bathrooms were fine for the past 30 years, but since they’re no longer grandfathered in, we had to comply with current ADA standards.”
Jim Lash quipped, “We’re still under budget. We just had to triple the budget’s size.”
Jimmy continued, “I can’t get mad at the county for doing their job, nor at the inspectors for holding our feet to the fire for little things like new, giant bathrooms, or the new kitchen hood which could literally suck a girl’s wig off, or the new grease trap that looks like it belongs at the Bellagio.
“That said, I am personally very proud that when it came to getting gaming licenses, all three of us passed the background checks with flying colors. In fact, at the final, in person meeting, the Gaming Commission only had two questions for me. One was for me to explain why I wanted to open my own club. The second was whether they would be welcome in the club and be allowed to enjoy it. Truly, this was the happiest day of my life! We were unanimously approved on the spot!”
Of course, the Spectrum’s next question was a repeat, and we asked, “When is it going to open?”
“As it stands right now,” Jimmy said, “Our contractor will finish all the approved work and claims he will be out by Aug. 10. Then we can decorate, stock and finalize everything.
“I’ve had so much support from my friends, family, local club owners and some very prominent people in Las Vegas, that I don’t know who to thank first. Our good friend, and former Mayor, Oscar Goodman gave us all glowing recommendations. Frank Marino was one of my references and he sent in a letter that literally said, “He’s so committed that he walks on water!”
As the Spectrum staff left the club, Jimmy and his partners were getting ready to hang all his Broadway posters, playbills and personally autographed photos from dozens and dozens of showbiz friends.
“Looks like I’ll have my very own club, sometime in the next 30 days. I’ve never been more excited about anything I’ve ever done in my life!
Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone. My wonderful partners, Jim Lash and Neal Dorfman, have gone above and beyond anything I could ever have imagined. This will be a
dream come true for all of us. “Of course, I know Jimmys@Madisons will be the best club this town has ever seen, but you expect me to say that! I’m just hoping all my friends will show up and see how different, how special, this place will be. It truly will be a first-of-its-kind for Las Vegas and we plan to make hundreds of new friends.
“We’ll be announcing special events, as a prelude to our eventual grand opening, so follow us on Facebook, follow our Twitter feed and be prepared to have a fabulous time with us.”
Editor’s note: We asked Jimmy Emerson for an update and here, in his own
words, is what he wrote:
The ladder is gone, the ceiling tiles are hung, the bathrooms are functional. We just need artwork. And YES the bathrooms are fully ADA approved!! As you know, this was one of our biggest obstacles.
With the news this week about the bars being closed for at least another two weeks, we are busy sampling all our menu items. Along with ‘normal’ food choices, chicken wings, burgers, finger foods, 24 hour breakfast, we are creating some very special “specials of the day” type entrées.
So far we have a great “Jambalaya” dish, “chicken and dumplins” with southern fried chicken (my grandmother’s recipe), Jimbo’s homemade
enchiladas, Roxie’s fried steak with lobster mac and cheese.
Thanks to Neal Dorfman, ownerin-charge of the kitchen, has several different kinds of hand tossed pizza with a “secret” dough recipe that comes from a very famous restaurant in California. Neal says a good friend gave him this supposedly secret recipe that has never been shared with anyone else. I’ve tasted it and WOW! The crust is good all by itself!!
A new painting is being created by local artist Sal Zepeda to hang over the bar. It’ll feature our logo along with hidden themes in the painting…
We are hanging over 100 playbills from many years of Broadway shows,
many of which came from my own collection.
When the Governor gives the permission to reopen, we will definitely OPEN!!!
– Jimmy Emerson