Monthly Archives: January 2015

Pizza Rock Genius Tony Gemignani Brings Three Tasty New Restaurants to Off-Strip Casinos

He’s the man behind the best pizza in Las Vegas: Tony Gemignani. Oh, and the best meatballs, but let’s not get bogged down by details.

Gemignani’s downtown Pizza Rock restaurant, otherwise known as “this blog’s second home,” has taken Sin City by storm, and in 2015 he’ll bring three new restaurants to two off-Strip casinos.

Tony Gemignani

We would like to let Tony Gemignani know we are available for adoption at any time.

The three new restaurants are Slice House by Tony Gemignani and another outpost of Pizza Rock, both at Green Valley Ranch Resort, and Little Tonys, a new Italian concept, at Palace Station.

Slice House by Tony Gemignani opens this weekend at Green Valley Ranch, and features pizzas by the slice, including New York, Sicilian, and California-style pizzas. The menu will also have calzones, stromboli, panini, baked ziti, salads and meatball subs.

Green Valley Ranch

Green Valley Ranch. It’s fancy.

This is the third Slice House in the country. The others are located in Sonoma County and San Francisco, both of which we’re relatively sure are in California. Hey, we attended public school.

Also coming to Green Valley Ranch is another Pizza Rock, with classic Italian entrees, pasta and Gemignani’s award-winning gourmet pizzas. The new Pizza Rock will open in March.

Pizza Rock

Downtown’s Pizza Rock claims to sell a maximum of 73 Margherita pizzas a day.

Tony Gemignani’s third restaurant offering will be Little Tony’s, a name inspired by Gemignani’s nickname for his dingle. Unless we’re completely making that up.

The new Palace Station restaurant is scheduled to open in April 2015 and will be an Italian trattoria and classic pizzeria.

Palace Station

Palace Station, five minutes from The Strip on Sahara Avenue, is perhaps best-known for not being known for anything.

At Little Tony’s, pizza will again take center stage, as will house-made pastas, calzones, stromboli, antipasti and salads.

Pizza Rock

Calzone in Italian means “trouser.” And honestly we would not mind having some warm cheese in our trousers right about now.

Tony Gemignani’s expanding empire means he’s clearly going to have a lot on his plate in 2015.

There are few sure bets when it comes to Las Vegas restaurants, but based upon our deep and abiding love for the original Las Vegas Pizza Rock, Tony Gemignani’s three new restaurants sound like guaranteed winners.

Imagine Dragons Surprise Show Set for Vinyl Inside Hard Rock Las Vegas

It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but we can confirm the Imagine Dragons are a lock for a surprise show at Vinyl inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Feb. 23, 2015.

The show is scheduled in conjunction with the release of the band’s new album, “Smoke + Mirrors,” available Feb. 17.

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons are an alt-rock assemblage featuring lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and drummer Daniel Platzman, which we knew off the top of our head, probably.

The show at Vinyl is one of four “surprise” private concerts planned, the others are slated for unnamed venues in L.A. (Feb. 20), Salt Lake City (Feb. 21) and Atlanta (Feb. 25). Each of the scheduled locations “that hold a special place in the band’s history.”

Imagine Dragons, of course, got their start in Las Vegas.

Many hoped the pop-up concert in Las Vegas would be at downtown’s Beauty Bar, but the permit was denied because of space limitations.

The series of Imagine Dragon concerts are in partnership with a promotion by Southwest Airlines. A giveaway starting Feb. 3 will give fans a chance to attend the Las Vegas show and meet the band. Find out more.

Here are all the details of this Imagine Dragons promotional tour.

The first earworm from “Smoke + Mirrors” is “I Bet My Life.” Good luck trying to get that chorus out of your head.

Expect more surprises related to Imagine Dragons and Las Vegas, specifically downtown, in the weeks to come. We could tell you now, but what fun would that be?

Three Can’t-Miss Panty-Dropper Cocktails From Tom’s Urban at New York-New York

During each of our visits to the newly-opened Tom’s Urban at New York-New York, we find something new to love. Much of it in liquid form.

With count-’em four bars under one roof, it’s perhaps no surprise cocktails are as much a part of Tom’s Urban as the food.

Here are three delicious signature at Tom’s Urban sure to provide some social lubrication.

Stripside “Horny” Marg

Yes, it’s a margarita, but the “horny” in the name and the cocktail’s kick telegraphs why this offering made our list of panty-droppers at this fun new watering hold. The Stripside “Horny” Marg is made with Hornitos (Hornitos, horny, get it?) Plata tequila, simple syrup and 100% lime juice with a salty rim.

Tom's Urban Horny Margarita

“Margarita,” of course, is Spanish for, “Are you sure the baby’s mine?”

Ultimat Peach Cosmo

Tom’s Urban’s Ultimat Peach Cosmo is deceptively smooth and flavorful, belying its ultimate goal of warming your date’s cockles, whatever those might be.

The Ultimat Peach Cosmo boasts Ultimat vodka, peach liqueur, house made sweet and sour and moscato wine. We’re not a wine fan, but didn’t realize the Ultimat Peach Cosmo contained it until we’d lost the feeling in our face, and by then we didn’t particularly care.

Peach Cosmopolitan

It’s believed the popularity of the Cosmopolitan was sparked by frequent mentions on “Sex and the City,” a series where panty-droppage was sort of a thing.

Tomm’s Cup

Not a typo, Tomm’s Cup features Beefeater gin, Pimm’s (a gin-based liqueur), strawberry puree, ginger beer, simple syrup and lemon juice.

Tomm’s Cup is topped with cucumber and mint, so we’re declaring this panty-dropper a health drink, complete with the Food & Drug Administration’s recommended daily allowance of vegetables.

Tomm's Cup

Tomm’s Cup would be a lot less appealing if it were served at a sports bar, if you get our drift.

We have nothing but good things to say about Tom’s Urban, and can’t wait to visit again. Read more about this new restaurant and bar from Tom Ryan, the guy who invented stuffed-crust pizza for Pizza Hut and the McGriddle for McDonald’s. No, really.

How Do You Keep a Slot Machine Player in Suspense?

Funny you should ask. Here’s how.

It’s our very first Wheel of Fortune “tilt”!

This Las Vegas blog has been playing slot machines longer than we’d care to remember, but this was our first time seeing a perpetually spinning reel.

Wheel of Fortune

While annoying at first, one quickly realizes finding a slot machine experiencing a tilt is actually a great money-saving strategy.

We found the endless spinning of the reel rather relaxing. Hypnotic almost.

After a few minutes, a slot machine attendant opened the slot’s door, reset the machine and normal play resumed.

Slot machine tilts are relatively rare, and can mean a variety of things, including one of the reels is rubbing against the machine’s door, or the machine mistakenly thinks the door is open. If you look closely at the digital display, you can see the message “Closure M,” slot machine maintenance code for “Were you raised in a barn? Close the door!”

We learned something new! We can only hope that doesn’t happen again anytime soon.

White Castle Opens at Casino Royale on Jan. 27, Let the Mixed Emotions Begin

The much-anticipated White Castle Las Vegas opens Jan. 27, 2015, at 2:00 p.m., inside Casino Royale.

Depending upon your relationship to White Castle, opening day will be cause for joy or dread. Either way, it’s here, and we stopped by for a look.

White Castle Las Vegas

Once open, White Castle will be accessible from Las Vegas Boulevard (through the entrance pictured) or the casino floor of Casino Royale. Most importantly, locate the restrooms.

On the day of our visit, all the White Castle team members were on hand for last-minute training, and their friends and family were being treated to White Castle’s famous square sliders.

White Castle Las Vegas

They know the word “sack” has a different connotation than it did when the first White Castle opened in 1921, right?

Access was being strictly monitored by restaurant management during the training period, so to get a peek at the counter area, we had to whip out a Vital Vegas-certified security breach. Welcome to Vegas, White Castle.

White Castle Las Vegas

The White Castle counter area is separated from the Casino Royale’s casino by a 10-foot-tall wall and a long row of slot machines, not exactly making it a smoke-free zone.

We must have looked really excited about White Castle opening because one of the restaurant guests gave us a bag (sorry, sack) of four White Castle sliders.

There’s been so much buzz about White Castle, there’s no way the burgers could possibly live up to the hype. They were just like the burgers we remember from a few years ago, wherever we were at the time.

White Castle burgers definitely don’t deserve their “dog food on a bun” reputation. Mainly because we have yet to try dog food.

White Castle Las Vegas

Which camp are you in? The “I have the drunchies, gimme” camp or the “Not on your life” camp?

Have to say, our White Castle burger lived up to the less-than-flattering reputation perpetuated by the restaurant’s detractors. Approximately 15 minutes after having eaten a portion of one burger, we experienced the kind of intestinal distress usually reserved for travelers dining at food carts in Mumbai. Good times.

White Castle Las Vegas

Let’s look at a pretty photo of the exterior of Casino Royale to distract us from intestinal distress, shall we? Damnit, how did Denny’s get in there?

“Cravers,” fans of White Castle (we’ll wait until we get to try the crinkle-cut fries before deciding we’re not one), will be thrilled to hear White Castle on the Las Vegas Strip will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Casino Royale, by the way, is located between the Venetian and Harrah’s Las Vegas, across from The Mirage.

White Castle Las Vegas

Decorative touches include vintage photos of people at other White Castles, many of whom are dead. No connection, probably.

There are about 400 White Castles across the country. Vegas die-hards know that while this is the first proper White Castle restaurant in Nevada, the company’s mini-burgers are also available at Mermaid’s casino in downtown Las Vegas.

White Castle Las Vegas

Love them or hate them, White Castle burgers are here to stay. The nearby Denny’s is the most profitable in the world, so its neighbor is likely to do record-breaking business, too.

If nothing else, we give White Castle credit for having the sack to bring a burger chain to Las Vegas where incredible burger options abound. The best burgers in Las Vegas are downtown, at El Cortez and Binion’s, with the best Strip burger joint being BurGR at Planet Hollywood. We’re also a big fan of In-N-Out, which could beat White Castle in a cage match even if it were in restraints like Hannibal Lecter’s. Or something.

The most overrated burgers in Las Vegas, if you’re keeping track at home, are at the newly-opened Shake Shack at New York-New York, Bobby’s Burger Palace in the Shops at Crystals and B&B Burgers and Beer at the Venetian.

So, let’s hear it. Are you a “Craver” or a “Staver”? Which we’re pretty sure isn’t a thing. But given our first Las Vegas White Castle burger experience, give it time.

“The Walking Dead” Badass Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) Rides SlotZilla Zip Line in Las Vegas

Just about the only thing this blog loves as much as Las Vegas is “The Walking Dead,” so we definitely had a moment when we learned Norman Reedus, known to zombie fans around the world as Daryl Dixon, visited downtown and rode on the SlotZilla zip line on Jan. 22, 2015.

Daryl Dixon SlotZilla Las Vegas

How Daryl got his crossbow into that accessory bag, we’ll never know. Thanks to an anonymous fellow fan for these great pics.

Reedus opted for SlotZilla’s upper “Zoomline,” where riders travel the length of the Fremont Street Experience laying face down, superhero-style. Which is apt given Daryl has certainly achieved superhero status on AMC’s smash hit, “The Walking Dead.”

Season Five of “Walking Dead” premieres Feb. 8, 2015, so you know where we’ll be. Here’s a teaser.

A short time before Norman Reedus zoomed, he posted a photo on Instagram with an Elvis impersonator outside the SlotZilla ticket office on Fremont Street. The “Walking Dead” star also posted a photo of the slot machine inspired by the popular show.

Full disclosure: We work for Fremont Street Experience, which operates SlotZilla. Our opinions are our own, however, especially the ones involving our borderline creepy fanaticism for all things “Walking Dead.”

Norman Reedus Las Vegas

In 1997, Norman Reedus appeared in a movie called, “Floating.” Ah, the circularity of the universe.

From what we can sleuth, Norman Reedus is in Las Vegas shooting a film called “Sky,” possibly with Lena Dunham and Diane Kruger. Read more.

Not surprisingly, we spend a lot of time downtown and on Fremont Street (and did before we ever started working there), so we were crushed to have missed bumping into Reedus in person. From people we’ve talked to, he’s down-to-Earth, unassuming, soft-spoken and patient with fans asking for photos and autographs.

You truly never know who you might encounter in Las Vegas. And if you’re really lucky, you might even get to meet the only guy we’re confident will never be killed off on “The Walking Dead.”