Sam Nazarian, the 37-year-old power player behind SBE hospitality group, is transcending the no-longer-accurate moniker of "night life king" by expanding his popular Katsuya restaurant brand on an international scale.
Late last month Nazarian signed a deal with M.H. Alshaya (a huge international retail franchise operator) to open 17 Katsuyas in the Middle East by 2017 with the first two, in Kuwait and Dubai, scheduled to open in 2013.
This is in addition to Nazarian's investment in Adam Fleischman's buzzy Umami Burger, which Nazarian is helping to develop into a national chain.
Nazarian also has his sights set on Asia and is planning to open a branch of his SLS hotel chain in China. He will also open SLS's in Manhattan and Las Vegas, the latter in the former Sahara Casino, which Nazarian took control of in 2007. The hotel is currently closed and in the midst of a massive overhaul that Nazarian hopes will transform the north end of the Vegas Strip in what is estimated to be a $744 million project.