The Downtown Project in Las Vegas, which began in earnest two years ago, has begun to transform the seedier parts of the city.

The project, started by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, has raised $350 million, acquired more than 60 acres of land, invested in over 300 businesses, and created over 800 new jobs. Natalie Young, the founder and chef of Eat, a restaurant that serves shrimp and grits and free-range chicken sandwiches, is one of the entrepreneurs who landed capital from the project.

Inc. interviewed Young for a Trep Life mini documentary about her experience running the business. The first year and a half were all-consuming, she says. "It was 10 hours a day, seven days a week, on the line cooking in the kitchen. [I was] perfecting recipes, training the staff, setting the standards for the restaurant, and every single day living, breathing, sleeping the restaurant." 

Today, she says, it's all about staying vigilant to keep staff happy and the food, flavor, and atmosphere consistent.

As hard as the work has been, Young says no amount of money could replace the last two years of building and running a business herself.

"I have complete creative freedom. That in itself is worth--there's no price," she says. "The opportunity to build a restaurant from the ground up, to make every single decision is priceless. There's no money that could substitute for that experience. I am rich beyond dollars." 

To see more entrepreneurs who are working to rebuild downtown Las Vegas, check out the video below.

Published on: Nov 4, 2014