SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s 7 p.m., the light system has dimmed, the music has made a swift change, and fire dancers erupt as you’re enjoying sashimi, tacos, and Mexican-inspired dishes. A $175,000 sound system could be to thank for part of this experience, but also, Nico Harward — a fellow Utahn who has returned home to his roots to deliver a concept that up until now has been considered foreign to the beehive state.

In 2006, the idea of a fine-dining Mexican-inspired concept specializing in Las Vegas-like entertainment simply would not have worked in Utah.

Harward, who was in his teens when he began advancing in the culinary restaurant design world, realized early in his career that what he envisioned was not capable in the Utah market.

“At the time even finding a job as a restaurant manager was hard to come by in Utah unless you wanted to work at a fast-food place,” said Harward, Director of Brand Curation at WagsCap Food Services.

That’s when Harward packed his bags and headed for Los Angeles and now 47 restaurants later, has announced the launch of Las Botellas — a new restaurant opening at Mountain View Village in Riverton this fall.

Courtesy: Nico Harward

Las Botellas — a full-service premium brand of Wagscap Food Services — is an ‘experiential’ brand that is designed to create an experience from the moment someone walks through the door to the moment they walk out.

Part of this experience will be the daily performances ranging from fire dancers to live music to aerial artistry.

Courtesy: Nico Harward

The concept is to extend far beyond the food and beverage program which Harward describes as Mexican-inspired food with a global take.

That extension is one reason why a tree will be cascading out of the center of the bar — visible to every person that walks into the restaurant.

Embellished with lights, the custom millwork tree will submerge guests into a tropical experience, Harward says. Luxurious plush interior meets tiki tropical in other words.

“Each section of the booths (tables) has these drapes that are kind of like little wood hanging pieces that sort of enclose the booth. So you’re going to be sitting in a green velvet booth upholstered with a beautiful chandelier hanging above your table,” said Harward. “It’s eclectic.”

So what exactly does Mexican-inspired food with a global take look like?

“I’ve got everything from a boasting taqueria to actually raw fish and sashimi dishes,” Harward said.

Utahns can look forward to an expansive food menu ranging from a5 Kobe beef wagyu to fresh oysters.

Courtesy: Nico Harward

Las Botellas, slated to open its doors this fall, is one of five concepts that Harward will be bringing to the Utah market this year.