Circa Resort Unveils Restaurant Line-Up

Circa Las Vegas opens in Dec. 2020, but the new downtown resort has already announced its five restaurant offerings.

Circa’s restaurant line-up includes a deli, a steakhouse, a burger and wings joint, an Asian spot and a BBQ truck.

Here’s a quick overview of the restaurants coming to Circa Las Vegas:

  • Saginaw’s Delicatessen from Detroit
  • Barry’s Downtown Prime, a classic steakhouse
  • Victory Burger & Wings Co. from the crew behind The D’s American Coney Island
  • 8 East, an Asian restaurant from the genius behind downtown’s Le Thai
  • Project BBQ, the first permanent food truck on Fremont Street

Let’s get into the renderings, already! Here’s more about the restaurants at Circa resort.

Saginaw’s Delicatessen

Saginaw’s Delicatessen comes from well-known Michigan restaurateur Paul Saginaw.

Circa deli

Saginaw is an Indian word meaning “land of the Sauks.” Look, not ever photo caption can rock your world.

Saginaw is best known for his Zingerman’s Deli, an Ann Arbor institution he opened with partner Ari Weinzweig, acclaimed as being among the world’s best sandwich joints.

Saginaw's Circa

“Delicatessen” comes from the Latin, meaning “alluring, delightful, dainty,” much like us. Dainty, that is.

Downtown fanatics might recognize the Zingerman’s name from the coffee stand at the D Las Vegas, currently undergoing an expansion.

Fun fact: We played craps with Paul Saginaw one time. He’s a hoot.

Barry’s Downtown Prime

You can’t open at Las Vegas casino without a steakhouse. It’s the law. Take a gander at Barry’s.

Barry's Downtown steakhouse

Do people still take ganders? Well, they should.

Barry’s Downtown Prime has a solid pedigree before it even opens, as the chef will be Barry Dakake, the force behind N9NE at Palms which closed in Sep. 2017.

For the record, Barry Dakake’s name is pronounced “day-cake.” It’s not like he hasn’t heard jokes about that before, so please grow up like we probably have.

Barry's Downtown Circa

Bold move to name a place “Barry’s.” First, not the flashiest. Second, what if they fire the chef? Bright side: At least the name doesn’t have a number in it.

Dakake’s partner, Yassine Lyoubi, who served as general manager for N9NE Steakhouse and Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at Sahara (formerly SLS).

Barry's Downtown steakhouse Circa

Boom. Now we know where Vegas Vickie will be at Circa. Fun fact: Her leg’s going to move again!

There aren’t a lot of sure things in Las Vegas, but Barry’s Downtown Prime is bound to be one of them.

Victory Burger & Wings Co.

Victory Burger & Wings will overlook Circa’s sportsbook, being touted as the world’s largest.

Circa’s going to be sports-friendly, so it needed a sports bar. Victory covers all the bases.

Victory Burger and Wings

We predict you’ll be seeing us a lot, Victory Burger & Wings.

Victory Burger & Wings comes from the folks behind the popular American Coney Island at The D, Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros.

The menu will include specialty burgers, wings and appetizers.

Oh, and beer, lots of beer. (Bonus points if you read that in the voice of Keanu Reeves.)

Victory burger Circa

Why do we feel like our pleas for a “No Sports” section is going to go unanswered?

8 East

We’ll say this as delicately as we can: Any restaurant from the folks behind Fremont East’s Le Thai restaurant is going to kick ass.

8 East restaurant

Please let us know if saying an Asian restaurant is going to “kick ass” is racist, thanks.

8 East was inspired by metropolitan Asian food markets and will feature pan-Asian cuisine. The menu will span Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai dishes.

We’re going to breeze by the part in the news release where it says 8 East will have “communal dining.” Hey, no restaurant is perfect.

8 East Asian Circa

Time to brush up on your chopsticks. Also racist, probably.

An Asian restaurant will fill a niche not currently available at Circa’s sister casinos, Golden Gate and The D. 8 East is likely to be a big hit with a lot of downtown regulars, as an inordinate number hail from Hawaii.

Project BBQ

This downtown fixture is finally going to find a permanent home. It’s moved around often to accommodate the ever-changing construction footprint of Circa, and before that the Las Vegas Club demolition site.

Project BBQ will be Fremont Street’s only permanent food truck and its first Carolina BBQ joint. The truck will be moving west from its current position, toward Plaza and near the Main Street stage at Fremont Street Experience. Prime real estate.

Our pal Chef Rex Bernales keeps it simple and satisfying, offering pulled brisket, pork and chicken, among other BBQ favorites.

Project BBQ Fremont

This isn’t the first time someone’s pork has been pulled downtown, if you get our drift.

The mix of restaurants at Circa seems to have a decent amount of variety, both in terms of cuisine and price points.

Worth noting: Some have asked where Golden Gate’s famed shrimp cocktail will resurface a Circa. Owner Derek Stevens says they haven’t decided yet. Stay tuned.

Given how quickly Circa is being built, these new restaurants will be here before you know it, and we can’t wait to sink our teeth in.

Disclosure: Our day job is in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, and The D and Golden Gate are casino partners of that organization. Our opinions are our own, especially the poorly spelled ones. We sometimes drink when we blog, in case that weren’t obvious.

MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay Sold for $4.6 Billion

MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay have been sold for $4.6 billion. Which is only news to you if you don’t read headlines, but whatever.

According to a news release, MGM Growth Properties (MGP) and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) will co-own the resorts. MGP will own 50.1% of the joint venture, and Blackstone will own 49.9%. Blackstone also owns Cosmopolitan.

Yeah, not exactly sexy, but news is news.

Mandalay Bay

Customers won’t notice any changes at Mandalay Bay, so don’t freak out.

The bottom line is this deal is similar to the recent sale of Bellagio in that MGM Resorts will continue to operate the resorts.

The sale of MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay are part of a larger “asset light” strategy on the part of MGM Resorts. It also seems to be part of a larger “boring us to death” strategy involving REITs, lots of initialisms and companies paying themselves rent.

MGM Resorts’ initial annual rent will be $292 million. Which shouldn’t be a big deal until the recession hits, then everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

MGM Grand

MGM Grand is the green one.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Checking In on Downtown Grand’s New Hotel Tower

It’s been a minute since we shared photos of Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, so consider this that.

Downtown Grand construction

We’re calling it topped off.

The new tower is set to open in mid-2020, and will have seven guest room floors, adding 495 new rooms to the downtown hotel-casino.

The 495 new rooms will include 405 standard rooms, 67 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites and three presidential suites. Guests will be able to recognize the presidential suites immediately because their quality will be unimpeachable.

Downtown Grand construction

Downtown Grand says it’s known for its “industrial chic aura.” We enjoy visiting, anyway.

The new Downtown Grand tower is being build where the hotel’s valet parking was once located. Construction began about a year ago.

The new tower will connect to Downtown Grand on the casino and pool levels.

While Downtown Grand’s casino has struggled since the resort opened in Oct. 2013, its hotel business is said to be stronger, so the owners are clearly playing to the resort’s strengths in an attempt to drive more room revenue.

Downtown Grand tower

The views won’t win any awards, but Downtown Grand’s rooms are some of the best downtown and quieter than those along Fremont Street, as is the casino.

Downtown Grand, formerly Lady Luck, is owned by CIM Group and operated by Fifth Street Gaming.

While we’re on the subject of Downtown Grand, we recently spoiled the surprise the hotel will be getting a new restaurant, Hot N Juicy Crawfish. No, the new restaurant hasn’t yet been announced yet, that’s just how we roll.

Hot N Juicy Downtown Grand

Interesting how “hot” gets top billing. “Juicy” needs a better agent.

The Louisiana-style seafood restaurant will move into the space previously home to Commissary After Dark and the short-lived Downtown Underground eSports Lounge.

We’ll keep an eye on the construction at Downtown Grand, so check back for further updates whenever you’re done skimming stories on blogs where you don’t even bother to read the last sentence. Rude.

Lyft Art Park Closes on Fremont East in Downtown Las Vegas

It was weird while is lasted. With zero fanfare, the quirky Lyft Art Park downtown closed and disappeared shortly after the calendar flipped to 2020.

And, yes, we understand most calendars don’t “flip” anymore. Your smartassery is duly noted.

Here’s the former home to some seriously offbeat art. The space has returned to its former glory as a parking lot next to Park on Fremont restaurant.

Lyft Art Park closed

It wasn’t paradise. And this parking lot was already paved. Can you believe that song came out 50 years ago?

The Lyft Art Park opened on Sep. 26, 2018, and featured a rotating collection of larger-than-life art pieces, many imported from Burning Man.

Featured art included a 30-foot ballerina, a massive polar bear and an out-sized robot.

Lyft Art Park ballerina

This statue, called “Euterpe” (named after a Greek muse), was on point.

Other pieces featured at Lyft Art Park included a bug thing, a cab thing, a trailer thing and several other things we can’t even describe as well as those.

Some of the art pieces have made their way to nearby locations.

The giant Flamingo now sits next to the Downtown Container Park.

Lyft Art Park flamingo

Lyft Art Park’s giant flamingo has flown a few blocks east. Yes, flamingos fly. Trust us, we are a photo caption.

The recycled lion is on temporary display in the porte cochere at the Plaza casino.

Plaza lion

Bonus points for reading our mind on that sign, Plaza.

It’s weird how you can take something for granted, then when it’s gone, miss it a lot. Like a short refractory period.

We took Riviera for granted, too, and we miss it now that it’s a parking lot. The former New Frontier site is going to be a parking lot as well.

The point is, enjoy things while you can, because nothing lasts forever. Thanks a lot, diminished testosterone levels. Or whatever we were originally talking about.

Days Are Numbered for Cirque’s “R.U.N.” at Luxor

A wildly expensive and polarizing Cirque du Soleil show, “R.U.N.” at Luxor, looks to be closing after April 2020, according to a source.

“R.U.N.” opened on Oct. 24, 2019 at a staggering cost of $62 million.

RUN

It’s a blog, we don’t have to be neutral.

“R.U.N.” has received scathing reviews since its debut, with many declaring it the “worst show ever in Las Vegas.”

On TripAdvisor, the show has received 115 “terrible” ratings, and 31 “excellent” ratings, although a good deal of the “excellent” ratings are of questionable origin.

For example, many use the same or similar terminology (“immersive!”), and are written by first-time reviewers using generic profile photos. Another common theme among the dubious raves are claims audience disappointment with the show is due to it not being a “typical Cirque show.”

We can’t disagree, as typical Cirque shows are “enjoyable” and “entertaining” and tend to not feature torture sequences.

Here’s a taste of “R.U.N.” Warning: Viewing this video may cause nausea, headaches, vomiting and an uncontrollable urge to, well, run.

There has been no official announcement or confirmation of the closure of “R.U.N.” by Cirque du Soleil or Luxor (owned by MGM Resorts).

A source shared an internally-distributed schedule of upcoming performances of “R.U.N.,” which abruptly ends after its April dates.

RUN Luxor

“R.U.N.,” it seems, has run out of gas.

There’s been speculation that because of the show’s $62 million price tag, it would be disastrous to simply pull the plug on “R.U.N.” There’s a chance the show could close temporarily for an overhaul to try and salvage it.

There’s also a chance Cirque has realized it misread the market and will cut its losses to stop the bleeding.

While it’s no fun when a show closes and performers and crew members lose their gigs, it’s also no fun when customers feel ripped off after seeing a Las Vegas show, especially one from a respected company like Cirque du Soleil.

“R.U.N.” was a noble, but misguided and poorly executed, attempt to reach a new audience for Cirque. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that audience actually exists.

Circa Resort Construction is Halfway to Completion

Circa Las Vegas has made impressive progress during its first year of construction, and we’ve got a look at the current state of the new hotel-casino downtown.

The $1.2 billion Circa is expected to open in December 2020. The project broke ground on February 19, 2019.

Circa Las Vegas construction

Downtown’s about to get some new shiny.

Here’s an amazing fun fact about Circa: Since Oct. 3, 2019, Circa has been adding a floor per week.

The 44-story, 500-foot-tall Circa will eventually have 777 rooms, but will open with closer to 500 rooms, plus 71 suites. The final mix of rooms and suites will be based upon demand.

Among the new resort’s features will be what’s billed as the “world’s largest sports book.” Gird your loins, Westgate.

Here’s a look at the space where the sports book will reside when it slides into home. Or something.

Circa sports book

They’ll probably spruce it up a bit before opening day.

The three-level Circa sports book, expected to cost about $20 million, will have a 78 million pixel high-definition screen.

Here’s a rendering of the finished product for comparison purposes, reversed angle from the perspective above.

Circa Las Vegas

Consider it spruced.

The jewel of Circa will be its rooftop pool complex, with six pools open 365 days a year. It’s projected the pools will be able to serve about 4,000 people a day.

The video screen at the pool will have 14 million pixels.

Here’s the owner of Circa, Derek Stevens, showing off his baby. Stevens and his brother Greg also own The D and Golden Gate.

Circa Las Vegas Derek Stevens

We were the first to quote Derek Stevens as saying, “Downtown is under-pooled.” He’s determined to remedy that.

Here’s the rendering of what the pool deck will look like when it’s completed.

Circa Las Vegas

Good luck escaping the sports at Circa.

It was a blast being among the first to walk around the future Circa casino, where we fully anticipate making regular donations.

Circa will have 1,350 slot machines and 49 table games.

Here’s a “before” shot of Circa’s casino!

Circa Las Vegas casino

Savsies on Wheel of Fortune.

During our tour, we spotted an area we’re pretty sure will be the home of Vegas Vickie upon her much-anticipated return to Fremont Street. She is set to be a featured part of Circa’s
lobby.

Circa

The Circa lobby will have a moon roof.

From what we can tell, the Vegas Vickie sign is so tall (40 feet), she’ll actually extend beyond the ceiling of the casino, protruding through an opening in the ceiling.

We couldn’t help but create this weak and entirely speculative image of where Vegas Vickie might go at Circa.

Vegas Vickie Circa

When we asked a friend at Circa which way Vickie’s leg will go, the reply was, “We don’t know.” If they don’t know, we sure as hell don’t.

Our mole got some sweets shots of Vegas Vickie during her renovation at Yesco Signs. She’s got a fresh coat of paint!

Vegas Vickie renovation

If you love classic Vegas signs, this photo gives a whole new meaning to “halfway to completion.”

Across the street from Circa is another key element of the project, deemed Garage Mahal.

The nine-story Garage Mahal structure will hold about 1,200 vehicles, but the big selling point is it’s the first parking garage in Las Vegas to be built around catering to rideshare services like Lyft and Uber.

Garage Mahal

In Persian, “Mahal” means mansion or palace. Because writing photo captions is hard.

More fun facts: More than 10.75 million pounds of rebar (emphasis on “bar,” because Vegas) have been installed at Circa to-date, as well as 12.2 million pounds of structural steel (emphasis on “pounds,” because you know how we are).

Circa is set to announce more about its bars and five restaurants in the next couple of months. Let’s just say the mix of cuisines will augment the already popular options at The D. Hint: Think “east,” both “coast” and “far.”

We haven’t heard much about non-sports entertainment at Circa, although a stage production called “Circa du Soleil” would have been absolute gold, marketingwise.

How is Circa coming along so quickly? Credit has to go to the stellar efforts of Steelman Partners (architecture and design), McCarthy Building Companies (general contractor) and Tre Builders (construction manager).

Oh, and the construction folks, of course. The total number of construction workers on Circa and Garage Mahal is about 600. Note: Safety vests are hawt. Are we right, ladies?

Circa

Oh, like we were going to write this entire story without a single use of the word “erection”? Do you know this blog at all?

Disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience as our day job, and The D and Golden Gate are member casinos of that organization. Our opinions are our own.

Update (1/7/20): The first windows have been put into place at Circa.

Circa windows

No panes, no gain.

Enjoy a few more photos of Circa’s construction, several of which are accidentally in focus.

Update (1/14/20): On Jan. 14, 2020, the pedestrian bridge between Circa and Garage Mahal appeared overnight, literally.

Circa

Overnight Bridge would be a decent band name.