Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Tasty-As-Hell Jared’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers Opens at Pawn Plaza

Pawn Plaza has been shuffling its deck of shops, with most of its restaurants closing in recent months. Now, it’s doubling down on classic American fare in the form of Jared’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers.

Jared's Hot Dogs & Hamburgers

Hungry? Oh, you will be.

Jared’s has taken up residence where Smoke’s Poutinerie used to be, right next to the closed Inna Gadda di Pizza. The delicious Rita’s Italian Ice also closed as well, but the owner of Jared’s, Jared DeBehnke, is undeterred.

If anything’s going to succeed at Pawn Plaza, we’d put our money on Jared’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers.

Fair prices. Scrumptious, fresh, tried-and-true favorites. Quick, friendly service. That’s a recipe for kicking ass in our book.

Jared's Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs and Hamburgers

Just like at the Downtown Container Park, Pawn Plaza’s shops occupy shipping containers.

The hot dogs at Jared’s are sourced out of a farm in Wyoming, but DeBehnke won’t spill about which one. We have our team of investigators on the case, though, because we’re calling these bad boys the best hot dogs in Las Vegas at the moment.

Jared's hot dogs and hamburgers

Our tastes are simple, and Jared’s knocks it out of the ballpark, frankly.

The hot dogs are 100% beef with a natural casing, and the chili is top-notch. There’s no cheese sauce, it’s grated fresh daily.

Jared's Pawn Plaza

Loved the chili, and we aren’t a chili person.

The burgers are excellent as well, and that’s saying a lot in a town where there are so many stellar hamburger joints.

The burgers are a third-of-a-pound, never frozen and the selection of a dozen or so toppings are included in the price. We enjoyed the mushrooms and onions, despite the fact we tend to like our burgers naked. Like our truth.

Jared's Pawn Plaza

Beyond the meats, we’re a big fan of the buns on both the burgers and the dogs. So much so, we’re currently licking our computer monitor.

Anything you’re able to get that you can dip into Jared’s Sauce, do.

It rocked our onion rings, but we suspect it would also be fantastic on the fries or tater tots, too. It’s a little bit honey mustard, a little BBQ. We’d put it right up there with the signature sauces at Chick-fil-A or Raising Cane’s.

Jared's Pawn Plaza

Yes, we made a Jared’s Sauce joke. Thank you for the courtesy laugh, Jared.

If Jared DeBehnke looks familiar, it’s because not only is his face on the signage, he’s the same guy who owns the Slingshot rental stand at Pawn Plaza.

When DeBehnke saw the space become available, he jumped a the chance to give a restaurant a go, and we’re happy he did, as it’s going into our lunchtime rotation.

Hear our interview with Jared DeBehnke on episode 41 of the highly-overrated Vital Vegas Podcast.

Jared's Pawn Plaza

Simple, yet all the bases are covered. Yes, that’s two sports analogies in one blog post. Hint: We’re drunk.

At the moment, Jared’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers has limited hours, during the aforementioned lunchtime, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We suspect those hours will be expanded once positive word-of-mouth starts to spread.

For now, the only competition for Jared’s is the solid Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ & Tavern. The prices at Jared’s are roughly half of what Rick’s Rollin Smoke charges. Then again, Jared’s doesn’t have hooch.

Jared's Pawn Plaza

At Jared’s, it’s not about ambiance. You can’t slather mustard all over ambiance. At least not legally.

Here’s hoping the quality and prices at Jared’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers help it thrive as Pawn Plaza sorts out its line-up of shops and restaurants.

Jared's Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers

“Tasty-as-hell” apparently wouldn’t fit on the sign.

The throngs of visitors to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, featured in “Pawn Stars,” provide a steady supply of customers (DeBehnke says they’re getting lots of downtown denizens, too), but in the past, it’s been challenging to get them to stay and spend at Pawn Plaza. We’re thinking Jared’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers is a great reason to stick around.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Zydeco Po-Boys to Close in Downtown Las Vegas

Mere weeks ago, a downtown favorite, Glutton restaurant, closed its doors. Now, its neighbor, Zydeco Po-Boys has announced it, too, will shutter.

Zydeco Po-Boys closes on March 3, 2017.

Zydeco Po-Boys opened mid-2015, a partnership between its owner Brandon Trahan and Zappos CEO Tony’s Hsieh’s Downtown Project. The restaurant is located a block south of Fremont Street, on Carson Ave.

Zydeco Po-Boys

How do you say “This sucks” in that funky Cajun French talk?

The restaurant announced it will close in a Facebook post. The post read, “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce Zydeco Po-Boys will be closing its doors on March 3rd.”

The post from owner Brandon Trahan continues, “On behalf of my staff and I, we wish to thank Tony and the staff of Downtown Project for the opportunity to be part of the downtown revitalization. We wish to thank all of our loyal supporters who came out over the last year and a half to dine with us. It has been a pleasure to share my Cajun heritage and cooking with y’all. We wish the continued success of our friends and downtown neighbors and to all of the projects efforts.”

Zydeco Po-Boys closed

For awhile, Downtown Project dumped a ton of cash into businesses losing money. Now, not so much.

Zydeco Po-Boys served casual, reasonably-priced southwest Louisiana gumbo and po-boy sandwiches.

Trahan opened Zydeco Po-Boys after losing his home and business to Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Downtown has experienced a restaurant boom in recent years, but even a boom has casualties. Beyond Glutton and Zydeco Po-Boys, other downtown casualties include Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whiskey (at The Ogden), Inna Gadda di Pizza and Smoke’s Poutinerie at Pawn Plaza and F. Pigalle on Fremont Street.

When it comes to Las Vegas restaurants, it’s dog eat dog, which, if you think about it, is a truly inane cliche. The original phrase was “Dog does not eat dog,” which makes a good deal more sense. We blame it on the millennials.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Chick-fil-A Near Las Vegas Strip Gets Opening Date

It’s possible we’ve mentioned Chick-fil-A a time or two in recent weeks. That’s because we’ve been waiting for years to unleash our pent-up lust for the chain’s glorious chicken sandwiches, and two Chick-fil-A locations are now crushing it in Las Vegas.

To be precise, though, the two existing Chick-fil-A locations aren’t exactly in Las Vegas. They’re in Henderson. That’s about to change, though.

A third Chick-fil-A opens March 30, 2017, just off The Strip on Sahara Blvd. at S. Rancho Drive. The new outpost sits just across the street from the Palace Station casino, not far from Lucky Dragon and SLS Las Vegas.

Chick-fil-A Rancho Sahara

Do not make us choose between Chick-fil-A and saving an infant from a burning building. Infants can fend for themselves.

This new Chick-fil-A puts the restaurant within striking distance of The Strip, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to see the same crush of customers as the first two Las Vegas locations.

The third Chick-fil-A is expected to take some of the pressure off its sister locations. Both of the Henderson stores have been so busy, they’ve had to employ off-duty police officers to do crowd control since opening on Jan. 26, 2017.

Here’s another look at the third Chick-fil-A in Las Vegas.

Chick-fil-A plans to have 10 restaurants in Nevada over the next five years. So, grab the app, skip the pickles and join us as we bask in our Chick-fil-A euphoria.

And while you’re at it, please let us know how seriously we need to take this restraining order.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Lucky Dragon’s Doing the New Casino Shuffle

In a refreshing turn of events, Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, the newest casino on the Las Vegas Strip, put out a news release sharing some changes happening at the resort. Typically, such changes have to be ferreted out by visitors and bloggers, but in this case, Lucky Dragon was the source of the scoop.

Yes, there was a bit of spin involved, but it’s still a rare case of a casino getting ahead of the conversation, so credit where it’s due.

Lucky Dragon is doing some shuffling, and we’re not talking cards here.

We’d heard the resort had closed its Pearl Ocean restaurant, but it’s still humming along. The night we visited, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh was in the house.

Pearl Ocean

Please don’t try to spot Tony Hsieh, you’ll herniate yourself.

The resort has closed its entire first floor Dragon’s Alley food court temporarily and the space will soon get a new Dragon’s Alley noodle bar. Noodle bars are springing up in casinos across the city, so this is probably a smart move.

Lucky Dragon Dragon's Alley

Dragon’s Alley will soon be home to a noodle house. At nearby SLS Las Vegas, Ku Noodle tanked. Hey, casinos aren’t IKEA furniture, they don’t come with instruction manuals.

Apparently, a portion of Dragon’s Alley will be the new location for Pearl Ocean, and the Pearl Ocean space will be used to expand Lucky Dragon’s VIP Gaming Lounge. That’s sort of the spin part, mainly because it seems unlikely there’s been a huge influx of high rollers to a resort with relatively few amenities high rollers demand, but let’s just go with it.

Lucky Dragon VIP salon

The Macau-style VIP Gaming Lounge would be even cooler if we knew what Macau-style meant.

Pearl Ocean will stay open while Dragon’s Alley is being renovated.

No date has been set for when Pearl Ocean will close in its current location, or when the new noodle bar will open.

Pearl Ocean

How do you say, “Damn it, now we have to change all the signs!” in Chinese?

All this is pretty much par for the course when a new casino opens. It takes a little time to figure out the right mix of offerings, and changes are made to adjust to demand (or lack thereof). It remains to be seen if Lucky Dragon can thrive despite its awkward location. Lucky Dragon is near the intersection of Sahara Ave. and Las Vegas Blvd., between the Bonanza Gift Shop and Golden Steer Steakhouse.

During our visit (on a Thursday night), the table games area was pretty much empty, but there was a fair amount of slot machine play, and the fast-casual Bao Now restaurant was packed. (The closed Dragon’s Alley was at full capacity with a private event for an Asian tour group, so we expect they stuck around to play.)

While this is all very interesting, following up on this news gave us an excuse to visit Lucky Dragon again, and we have a story to share, so gird your loins.

So, we hit Lucky Dragon’s loyalty club desk to get a replacement card. The attendant, Ellie, informs us we have “eight lucky dollars in free slot play.” This is awesome, of course, because eight is super lucky in Asian cultures, so we say, “Look, that’s lucky, so we’re going to split our jackpot with you.”

Ellie laughs, because it seems she’s heard this kind of thing before.

We say, “All right, not 50-50. But how about 90-10?” She laughs and says “fine.”

We immediately proceed to play Wheel of Fortune, and after a few minutes hit the 2000 quarter jackpot. It’s Vegas, no big deal, five hundred clams, baby.

Wheel of Fortune

Remember, a great story is always, always more valuable than a little cash.

So, we head back to the loyalty club desk to find Ellie and give her the “commission” we promised, and she seemed somewhat shocked, very appreciative, but repeatedly declined her well-deserved $50. Eventually, she caved.

She said, “Customers say things like that all the time, but nobody comes back.”

This news made us a little sad. Look, in a Las Vegas casino, it’s all about mojo. Keep your promises, take care of the crew and don’t screw with Lady Luck.

Here’s hoping the changes at Lucky Dragon are just growing pains. It’s a great little resort and “evolution” is preferable to “flounder” any day of the week.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Du-Par’s Restaurant at Golden Gate Closes Abruptly

A beloved downtown Las Vegas fixture, Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery at Golden Gate, has closed.

Employees were informed of the closure mid-afternoon on Feb. 7, 2017, and the restaurant shut its doors permanently at about 6:30 p.m. the same evening. It was originally announced Du-par’s would close at midnight, but the plug was pulled early, probably due to drama surrounding the closure.

Du-par's Golden Gate closed

You broke the first rule of Las Vegas, didn’t you? You got emotionally attached!

The closing of Du-par’s is particularly shocking given its colorful history and ongoing popularity.

Du-par’s opened at Golden Gate in 2010.

Biff Naylor, son of “Tiny” Naylor (one of the 22 partners who purchased the Sal Sagev in 1955 and changed its name to Golden Gate), is the restaurant’s current owner. Rumor has it Naylor has bumped up against the IRS in a serious way, so the restaurant won’t be back.

Du-par's closed

Business tip: You don’t get to charge a sales tax, then keep it. The government’s picky like that. Bonus tip: It’s not particularly cool to give employees two hours notice they’re being cut loose.

In a short statement, the management of Golden Gate said, “A leased tenant of the historic hotel, Du-par’s had struggled with payments over an extended period of time.” Diplomacy at its finest!

The owner of Golden Gate, Derek Stevens, Tweeted he’s “sad/pissed” about the closing, and clarified the “financial reasons” for the closure have “nothing to do with the rent.”

Du-par’s has frequently been named as having the best pancakes in Las Vegas, and the restaurant’s shrimp cocktail is the stuff of Las Vegas legend. Golden Gate began serving its famous 99-cent shrimp cocktail in 1959.

Shrimp cocktail Du-Par's

The price crept up to $3.99 in recent years, but that didn’t make it any less devoured.

Du-par’s at Golden Gate was open 24/7, and won numerous accolades for its fare.

The closure of Du-par’s puts Golden Gate in a tight spot because Du-par’s was the hotel’s only dining option. The casino is wasting no time seeking alternative restaurant concepts for this sweet location at the west end of Fremont Street.

Du-par's closed Golden Gate

And, yes, we’re getting a little choked up writing about Du-par’s in the past tense. Don’t judge.

We’d suggest a rebrand to “Golden Gate Grill” until a new restaurant partner can be found. There’s nothing magical about shrimp and cocktail sauce!

No matter what’s next, Du-par’s will be missed by legions of fans who will have find at new way to wrangle their drunchies and get their pancake fix. (There’s Hash House a Go Go at Plaza and Denny’s just to the east, for starters.)

Du-par's pancakes

There were times we had to choose between sex and Du-par’s pancakes. The pancakes were delicious.

There’s another Du-par’s location at the off-Strip Suncoast casino. The fate of that location is unknown at the moment, mainly because we’re currently too drunk to call and ask. Word has it, though, the Suncoast location will remain in operation.

Update (2/9/17): In just 24 hours, all traces of Du-par’s are gone at Golden Gate.

Du-par's disappeared

The only constant in Las Vegas is WTF.

Share your Du-par’s memories in the comments, and not just because it creates the illusion people actually visit and read this Las Vegas blog. Probably.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Amorino at Linq Promenade is Destination Gelato

Linq Promenade has had a recent string of successes with openings including In-N-Out and Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips. A new gelato shop, Amorino, could end up stealing the spotlight, though, especially when summer rolls around.

Amorino Gelato Linq Promenade

An “amorino” is a cherub, also known as a “chubby male child who has had a few too many servings of gelato.”

Amorino is a gelato brand already familiar to Europeans, and now the delicious Italian ice cream has made its way to the Las Vegas Strip. (There’s another location at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, but this one’s better because, well, The Strip.)

Amorino replaces a failed gift shop, Koto, adjacent to Chayo Mexican Kitchen.

Guests will immediately notice Amorino’s signature offering, cones with gelato scooped to resemble flowers.

Amorino Gelato Las Vegas

Everything’s better with a macaron stuffed in it.

Thank you, tourists, for letting us take photos of your gelato flowers, which definitely sounds dirtier than it is.

Amorino also offers a wide variety of gelato-filled macarons, sweet, meringue-based confections that definitely aren’t the same as macaroons. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Amorino Gelato Las Vegas

The ruffled circumference of a macaron is called the “foot,” so when you have one, you’re putting your foot in your mouth. Bonus: Ruffled Circumference would make a great band name.

Amorino’s gelato comes in a dizzying variety of flavors, including our personal favorite, stracciatella.

Fair warning: Strip pricing is in full effect at Amorino. A small cone will run you $5.50, the large (“Classic”) will set you back $8.50. Gelato is also available in cups, running from small ($5.50) to the Maxi ($14.00). It’s great gelato, so it only stings for a minute.

Amorino gelato Linq

Pay no attention. You’ll get it back at Wheel of Fortune.

The “Macarons al Gelato” are $2.50, but you can save a couple of bucks if you get them in bulk. Twelve cost $28.50, 24 cost $56.

Also available in the 1,500-square-foot shop are several items we didn’t pay nearly as much attention to as the gelato, like specialty coffee, crepes, waffles, hot cocoa and chocolates.

Amorino gelato Linq Vegas

Worth the wait, worth the price and worth enduring bloggers taking photos of your gelato. Probably.

The world of frosty treats center-Strip has been in turmoil of late, with our favorite ice cream place, Ice Pan, closing at Harrah’s. Amorino is worthy successor, so be sure to put your tongue on it. Unless that makes you feel uncomfortable, then definitely do it. You’re in Las Vegas.

Amorino Gelato at Linq Promenade

[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato1.jpg]10.9k0
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato2.jpg]78080
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato3.jpg]70060
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato4.jpg]65220
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato5.jpg]62130
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato6.jpg]59290
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato7.jpg]56330
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato8.jpg]53810
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato9.jpg]51600
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato10.jpg]48850
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato11.jpg]46320
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato12.jpg]44380
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato13.jpg]42310
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato14.jpg]40410
[img src=http://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/amorino-gelato-at-linq-promenade/thumbs/thumbs_amorino_gelato15.jpg]38480
Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone