By Rosie Malone
Every year spectators gather at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California to watch the BNP Paribas Open for prime views of the top tennis players in the world, but there’s an added bonus: dining within sight lines at Nobu Indian Wells.
This is the fourth year in which Nobu has partnered with the Indian Wells Masters. At the center of the action is Brian Leon, Nobu’s Director of Operations for the West Coast. Overseeing the project since its inception, he describes each year—with Nobu staff from locations from all over the US—as a rush. “Every year is a new experience with a new team. Each season we’ve also added a new wrinkle, such as the Champion’s Club, Suite service and special events such as Moet & Chandon’s dinner that was held in center court.”
The Champion’s Club boasts a full, separate kitchen from the restaurant and exclusive lounge underneath the Champion Box Seats in Stadium 1. Suite Service, Leon says, is a new addition to this year’s tournament. Offerings in the Stadium Suites will vary between lunch Bento boxes, full service nigiri and maki sets, and live-action stations.
With all the flurry of activity, it’s important to remember to slow down and enjoy the experience, as Leon tried to do. One of his favorite evenings involved World-famous tennis champion Rafael Nadal. “After a particularly hard-fought match where he emerged victorious,” Leon recalls, “He made a late reservation during one of our busiest nights at Nobu. When he entered the room, the entire restaurant stood up to give applause and congratulate him before he sat to enjoy dinner with his friends. It was a great moment that showed the importance of the tennis tournament to the community and how Nobu could be the conduit between the two.”
Nobu Indian Wells runs the entire 3 week period of the BNP Paribas Open, from March 6-19th. Surrounded by Mountains from east to west, Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a place where the sun shines, the desert wildflowers bloom, the tennis masters play, and the sushi masters create.