Four, Count ‘Em Four, Shops Call It Quits at Pawn Plaza

To say downtown’s Pawn Plaza is going through a rough patch would be an understatement. A startling four shops have shuttered at Pawn Plaza in just a week’s time.

Pawn Plaza is a shopping complex fashioned from shipping containers, an idea inspired by downtown’s Container Park. Pawn Plaza sits next to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop made famous in TV’s “Pawn Stars.”

Pawn Plaza

It’s like Piet Mondrian humped a container ship. Or something.

It seems Pawn Plaza is going through the same kind of growing pains Container Park experienced, just all at once.

Here’s a rundown of the casualties.

Smoke’s Poutinerie

The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop gets a huge number of Canadian visitors, so it made sense to have an eatery featuring this popular Canadian dish. No such luck. Smoke’s Poutinerie was the first of the four shops to close.

Pawn Plaza

We quite enjoyed whatever it was we ate here.

Inna Gadda di Pizza

The closing of Inna Gadda di Pizza came as a surprise because of the restaurant’s pedigree. The shop was run by some of the same folks who opened the popular Pizzeria at Cosmopolitan (often called “Secret Pizza”). The pizza was okay, but given the choice between Inna Gadda di Pizza and the excellent Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, it was no contest.

Inna Gadda di Pizza

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” translates roughly as “The Garden of Life,” further proof you learn a metric ass-ton of useless stuff writing a blog.

Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop

The Pawn Donut and Coffee Shop was managed by the company behind Inna Gadda di Pizza. The doughnuts were solid and the prices were good. It’s likely this small shop could hold its own, but when Inna Gadda di Pizza pulled up stakes, it was a package deal.

Pawn Donut and Coffee

“Folks, we’re closing the shop, so we have to move everything out.” “All right, I’ll get a shoe box.”

Las Vegas Flip Flops

It’s a shock a flip flop store would fail given the huge public demand for, you know, flip flops.

Pawn Plaza Flip Flops

You will be missed, Las Vegas Flip Flops, by both of your loyal customers.

Thanks to Eater Vegas and Las Vegas Advisor for sharing news of the shuttered shops.

So, what’s the story at Pawn Plaza?

It’s been reported businesses at Pawn Plaza have been struggling overall, with disgruntled shopkeepers claiming the shopping center’s failing to meet their expectations.

Pawn Plaza’s PR team says, rightly, it’s the nature of the business that some stores will survive, others won’t.

Gold and Silver Pawn

The Gold & Silver Pawn shop continues to draw throngs. Just walk over to Pawn Plaza and buy something, people. It’s 14 feet away.

Pawn Plaza says it looks forward to announcing new tenants soon. Then again, what else are they going to say?

Is Pawn Plaza worth a stop? Of course! Did we mention Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ? It has a bar. ‘Nuff said. Bonus: “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison even tends bar there most Friday and Saturday nights.

Oh, and try Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard. The frozen custard is amazing, but just make sure it’s custard you’re getting because of the occasional egg shortages. It’s a thing.

Rita's Italian Ice custard

First, the custard is spectacular. Second, our future as a hand model is assured.

We’re rooting for Pawn Plaza to find a new batch of shops to fill out its roster. Pawn Plaza is a colorful addition to a blighted part of downtown. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix of shops and not relying solely on pawn shop visitors to support them.

And more bars couldn’t hurt.

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  • Kevin McShane

    Nice grip on that ice cream cone, someone is a ringer.

  • Has the Plaza featured on the tv show yet?

    Do the punters queueing up at the Pawn Shop even know it exists?

    • They don’t know about it (and I don’t think it can be promoted on the show), but they can’t miss it during a visit to the pawn shop.

  • I so wanna make a joke about pulling out…
    Anyway, good thing the flip flop store closed. I hate those things…or to be clear, I don’t care about them, I do not like when people wear them someplace other than the beach or pool.
    (Same logic as guns don’t kill people and cigarettes do not cause cancer.)
    Still, did you see the story about the woman who was wearing flip flops and fell to her death in Los Angeles because of them?
    See?

    • Bouldersteve

      A store that just sells flip flops will flop. Maybe if its near the beach it would work but last time I checked that was not Las Vegas

      • Yeah, blaming the failure of a flip flop store on the owners of the complex seems weak.

    • I have a bad relationship with flip flops because I grew up in Hawaii.

      • Bouldersteve

        The last time I bought flip flops was in Hawaii

  • RustyHammer

    They are going to have to come up with some unique stuff to get me to PP.

    I don’t do much shopping in Vegas. And I have no interest in seeing the pawnshop, especially given that I’ve never seen one person claim “you’ve gotta see it!”

    I went to CP because I could walk to it easily from the canopy and I had never seen anything like it. It’s well done and neat to see. Unless I read dozens of comments that PP is 10 times better, they’d better find something unique to get me there, and I’m not talking about restaurants. There ate at least 5 restaurants on Fremont Street. Maybe more.

    • Yeah, it’s mainly for tourists visiting the pawn shop. Nothing too stand-out except for the great BBQ and frozen custard.

  • Lewmoore

    But, mostly, they are closing because this was a terrible, terrible idea. A shopping plaza anchored around the “draw” from a pawn shop that is famous for being on a TV show seems a poor strategy. There’s literally no other reason for people to gather in that area other than the pawn shop. If, say, (as is the case here) that pawn shop and show are on the waning side of their popularity, it stands to reason that there would be fewer and fewer people coming to that area. Also, most people (such as myself) may come by to see the pawn shop once (and even then, not wait in line to go inside as it is largely an underwhelming gift shop) and never return again…as there are far better places to visit in Las Vegas. That, of course, doesn’t bode well for return business to this plaza.

    • It seems like the strategy was strong. “People are already here, let’s get them to stay and spend.” Not sure how to make that happen. People may just want to get on with their visit.

  • DSchwartz99lv

    Damn! I loved Smoke’s Poutinery! At least Rita’s Ice and Rick’s (wait for it) Rollin BBQ is still around. I’m trying to see if I could ask Rick about what he thinks of the new memes. One example below: (Warning: these memes are dangerous)

  • Steven Brown

    Maybe they need to pull a page from amusement parks and have the exit to the pawn shop put people out into Pawn Plaza…..

    • Genius. Sharing it! Thanks Steven.

    • Rebecca Kennedy

      Now that is a Brilliant Idea!!!

      • jason reneaud

        Hi Rebecca, can we Skype?

  • Bouldersteve

    Tough location and once the Pawn Stars show ends..no show lasts forever It going to be hard to get any tenants at that location. It would be great if Rick could get A&E to promote the plaza during the show

    • Interestingly, I don’t think they can promote anything on the show. I remember hearing that when he came out with his trivia app. Missed opportunity.

      • Bouldersteve

        Too bad. Maybe Rick needs to get a new agent

  • FYMYAWF

    Frickin’ Canadians keep trying to shove poutine down our throats, AND WE’RE NOT HAVING IT! WE LIKE OUR FRIED POTATOES CRISPY AND NOT DROWNED IN GRAVY, DAMN IT! LEAVE US ALONE.

    Pass the ketchup.

    • It was OK, but I get the feeling it’s an acquired taste.

  • David W Macchia

    There is a lot of potential in the waste land between downtown and The Strip. There are also a fair amount of shops, bar/clubs(OK a couple) and restaurants that are gems beyond the adult sex shops, nude joints and crap motels. The casino owners know this and will do what they can to influence traffic(The Deuce) and make sure the city does little to nothing in the way of parking as well as pedestrian walk ways. It will take some big name investors that simple don’t have a direct stake in gaming to get that area going.

  • Oscar

    I’m surprised people still go to the pawn shop. It’s crowded as hell and thus you can’t really look around much. God help the person who actually want to buy something.

    • Haven’t been inside lately, but it’s interesting. They have a duplicate set since the stars of the show can’t actually work at the counters anymore.