The Story of Winnie & Ethel’s Downtown Diner
In March 2021, Aaron Lee and Mal Gott began their story, which has since grown into the proudly presented Winnie & Ethel’s Downtown Diner. Inspired by classic American roadside eateries and grandmas’ kitchens, they developed an alluring twist to quintessential Americana that put a welcome place for their downtown Las Vegas neighbors.
The vision began with a car ride and conversation fueled by Clyde McPhatter’s Come What May and quickly evolved into menu ideas jotted down on junk mail envelopes, creating Pinterest boards full of aspirational interiors, building plans, and an eventual name change to Winnie & Ethel’s Downtown Diner.
On December 15, 2021, Mal and Aaron got engaged and entered Las Vegas Coffee Shop Giveaway, eventually winning the contest. They originally planned to get married at the diner for their soft opening. But Aaron and Mal couldn’t wait, they decided to tie the knot a few months before opening Winnie & Ethel’s; a place where they could celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, and everyday life together.
Winnie & Ethel’s Downtown Diner – one of only six finalists chosen from nearly 90 submissions to compete in Dapper Companies’ The Great Las Vegas Coffee Shop Giveaway – has officially been announced the winner of the Huntridge Shopping Center location and nearly $1M contest award package. On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Dapper Companies held a press conference at Vegas Test Kitchen, where media and the community gathered to hear which concept won the contest.
“We are overjoyed with the outcome,” said Mallory Gott, half of the Winnie & Ethel’s duo and owner of G+A| An Experiential Design Firm. “We woke up, and our lives were changed,” continued chef Aaron Lee. “It took a lot of hard work, but we are so grateful to be here and to start working on the next steps.”
Head Chef & Co-owner
In his 15+ year culinary career, Chef Aaron Lee has worked for top chef’s up and down the west coast including Andy Richter, owner of Portland’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, Pok Pok, and James Trees, Las Vegas Best Restaurant winner and James Beard-nominated, Esther’s Kitchen where Aaron was a sous chef for 4+ years. Chef Lee has come up under the best in the business and his culinary skills and sensibilities reflect this industry-leading know-how. His culinary philosophy centers around delivering top-quality American classics with the occasional, delightful twist because done right, even the simplest foods can deliver an outstanding dining experience. Chef Lee believes in fresh, locally sourced ingredients and takes a made-in-house approach to as many components of each menu item as possible. He espouses the value of a community in building the critical food and service partnerships required to make any neighborhood anchor successful both as a business and an integral part of its surrounding community.
CEO & Co-owner
In addition to her role as co-owner of Winnie & Ethels, Mal Gott is the owner and creative director of Las Vegas-based G+A | An Experiential Design Firm, creators of incredible event and brand experiences for bar, restaurant, and boutique hospitality clients since 2019. Since her firm’s inception, Mal’s business has grown over 100% per year annually, and her team has drawn on decades of event, marketing, branding, and space design expertise to define and design dream experiences for clients such as the Hofbrauhäus Las Vegas and Velveteen Rabbit. After nearly two decades conceptualizing global events and brand experiences for some of the most discerning audiences in Western Europe, North America, and Asia, Mal began creating and rejuvenating brand experiences for her clients, breathing new life into spaces, places, and concepts that had long been discarded as past their sell-by date.