Our needs are simple.
The Linq Promenade is already a fairly kick-ass place to eat, drink and make sweet love on the world’s biggest Ferris wheel, but it’s about to get even better.
A cavalcade of new offerings are happening soon at Linq Promenade (between Flamingo Las Vegas and the Linq Hotel-Casino), including In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s Deli.
Please let us know when you’re done swooning so we can continue.
For those unfamiliar with In-N-Out Burger, what rock have you been hiding under? In-N-Out Burger has legions of rabid fans, and is considered a must-visit for many Las Vegas visitors.
The chain is known for the quality and freshness of its ingredients, and the service is universally prompt and friendly.
Las Vegas has a number of In-N-Out Burger locations, but this will be the first on the Las Vegas Strip.
The restaurant’s allure includes a “secret” menu, but in fact it’s about as “secret” as “Secret Pizza” at Cosmopolitan (so, not very). Some “Not-So-Secret” options include “Protein Style” (lettuce instead of a bun), “Animal Style” (mustard-cooked patty, extra spread, grilled onions), “3×3” (three patties), “4×4” (take a wild guess) and the grilled cheese sandwich. Read more.
The new In-N-Out Burger is expected to be on the lower level of the wildly popular Brooklyn Bowl, and will be the perfect addition to the already-great dining options at Linq Promenade.
Next up, rumors of the demise of Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips appear to have been premature, something about which we know a great deal, thank you very much.
Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips was put on hold as some existing Linq Promenade businesses struggled to find a footing, but plans for Ramsay’s new restaurant are once again in motion.
The restaurant is described as “grab-and-go British comfort food,” and will be the fourth Las Vegas restaurant for the “Hell’s Kitchen” star. Gordon Ramsay’s other restaurants are BurGR at Planet Hollywood, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.
As the name implies, fish and chips will take center stage at Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips, but other English pub-style fare will also be available such as bangers and mash, sausages, seafood chowder and chicken planks.
And who doesn’t enjoy a good plank when they’re in Las Vegas, if you get our drift?
Also on the way to the Linq Promenade is the return of a Las Vegas outpost of Canter’s Deli, the famed Jewish-style delicatessen in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California.
Canter’s Deli originally opened in 1931 in New Jersey and has been frequented by many show business luminaries. We would provide the names of some of these celebrities, but that would require “effort” and “research,” and if you think we’re doing either of those things, you don’t know this Las Vegas blog very well at all.
The Canter’s in California is a 24-hour joint, although it’s unclear whether that will be the case when Canter’s comes to the Linq Promenade.
This isn’t the first time Canter’s has had a location in Las Vegas. A previous location at Treasure Island closed in 2012, the result of some changes to the hotel, rather than any lack of success.
Canter’s is known for its large portions and variety of traditional Jewish foods, including lox and bagels, corned beef and matzoh ball soup. Think Carnegie Deli at the Mirage or Du-Par’s at Golden Gate. You know, a deli type restaurant thingy.
An interesting part of the existing Canter’s is the Kibitz Room, a cocktail lounge with an epic history of live entertainment. This would seem to have some serious potential in Las Vegas, but specifics of the restaurant aren’t available yet, so whether the restaurant will feature entertainment remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.
Our friends at Eater Vegas are reporting Virgil’s Real Barbecue will be joining the restaurant line-up at Linq Promenade in summer 2016.
All these new restaurants mean there’s going to be a flurry of construction activity at Linq Promenade in 2016, and In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s are expected to open mid-year. How far the Linq has come since it opened in March 2014.
The Linq newness doesn’t stop there. Also in the planning stages are new crepe shop and Amorino Gelato, the latter in the former Koto space.
Watch for more changes in the retail and bar landscape (Kitson will close, Purple Zebra will be downsized, Polaroid Fotobar has become Photo & Go, AmeriCAN recently opened), and other surprises are also expected in 2016.
Linq Promenade is clearly upping its game, including bringing in a new management team to roll out the new restaurants in the pipeline.
The addition of In-N-Out Burger, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips and Canter’s will certainly generate buzz for the shopping and dining district, and buzz equals increased foot traffic and foot traffic equals giving The Park, the competing shopping and entertainment district under construction down the street between Monte Carlo and New York-New York, a run for its money.
More news to come, so check back often. But not too often, that’s stalkerish.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is apparently furious with employees of his newly-acquired newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Sources close to Adelson confirm the sometimes volatile billionaire is upset because he purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a surprise holiday present for his wife, Miriam Adelson, and “so-called journalists” are “ruining everything” with their insistence he go public about the purchase.
All indications are that an Adelson-led investment group purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million on Dec. 10, 2015. The price was nearly $40 million more than was paid for the newspaper earlier in 2015.
Since the sale, the new owners of the Review-Journal, News + Media Capital Group LLC, have tried to keep the identities of the investment group’s principals secret, sparking a sudden interest in transparency and journalistic integrity by journalists. Read more.
As a huge financial backer of Republican political candidates and causes, allegations have arisen Sheldon Adelson purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal because of its prominence in Nevada, an early-voting swing state.
“Nonsense,” an insider quotes Adelson as saying, “What do you get a woman who has everything? Another yacht or plane? I thought Miriam would enjoy having a newspaper, something to get her out of my hair on the weekends. It was either the Review-Journal or American Samoa, but we prefer not to travel as much at this point in our lives.”
The insider claims Adelson added, “I need to own a newspaper to have political influence? I own actual politicians! It’s adorable you think people still read newspapers, though, adorable.”
Media speculation continues despite confirmation of the newspaper’s sale to Sheldon Adelson.
Industry pundits suggest the list of potential buyers is short, and few have the financial clout of Adelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
Sheldon Adelson’s wealth is estimated at 28.9 billion. Adelson is rumored to keep the purchase price of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, $140 million in cash, in an envelope in his refrigerator at home on a regular basis.
Ironically, Adelson began his business career at age 12 in Boston, when he borrowed $200 to purchase a license to sell newspapers.
News Adelson purchased the Review-Journal as a holiday gift seems to make much more sense than the purchase being a financial investment. After all, it’s a newspaper.
Our source confirmed Adelson, who is Jewish, wanted to surprise his wife with the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a Hanukkah gift, but became frustrated trying to wrap the present by the end of the Festival of Lights, Dec. 14, 2015. Apparently, the target date for presenting the extravagant gift is now Christmas.
Pressure from his own employees to go public as the new owner of the Review-Journal reportedly sent Adelson “on a tear.”
He is said to have fumed, “These people need to get back to work and be thankful they still have jobs. They should spend less time trying to pressure me into announcing I’m the owner and more time helping me figure out where to get a much bigger gift bag!”
Downtown Las Vegas has added another excellent offering to its already booming restaurant scene, the fondue-based F. Pigalle.
F. Pigalle had a soft opening on Dec. 15, 2015, with little fanfare and mostly friends and family in
Fans of downtown have anxiously awaited the replacement for Radio City Pizzeria, and they’ll be thrilled when they try F. Pigalle.
First, the obvious. The name of the place takes a little getting used to, but soon it’ll be rolling off your tongue. Pigalle is pronounced “pee-GAHL.” Say it a few times. We’ll wait.
The “F” in the name stands for “fondue,” and Pigalle comes from Quartier Pigalle, or Pigalle Quarter, in Paris. Pigalle is a famous tourist district, with sex shops and adult shows, and F. Pigalle on Fremont Street plays upon the theme in its decor. Here’s more.
We suspect downtown denizens will come up with a nickname for F. Pigalle in time. During World War II, Allied soldiers referred to Quartier Pigalle as “Pig Alley,” so there’s that.
A small reception area sets the tone for the intimate restaurant, including displays featuring sex devices, the vast majority of which could make even the adventurous blush. Or cringe. But probably mainly that first thing.
Examine the items in the display cases at your own risk, and unless you want to traumatize your kids, leave them in the trunk. Or wherever people are keeping kids these days.
Oh, all right, one more device.
Guests aren’t given a menu at F. Pigalle, and the selection is about as concise as any we’ve seen in Las Vegas.
Here’s the F. Pigalle menu, in its entirety.
There are essentially three main courses, Cheese Fondue, Steak Fondue and Shrimp Fondue. There’s a dessert, Chocolate Fondue, and a side, the tasty hand-cut fries. That’s it!
We dove right in, ordering the Steak Fondue. The meat arrives raw, so you get to fondue it (assuming “fondue” can be used as a verb) to your liking.
While the prices are surprisingly reasonable, especially since the main fondue packages could feed two people, assuming they also share the fries, each dish comes with bottomless red or white wine.
That’s right. For each entree fondue ordered, guests get unlimited wine. (If you share a fondue, it’s bottomless wine for one or the other of you, not both.) We’re going to predict right out of the gate there’s no way that deal lasts more than a few weeks at most, unless F. Pigalle has made a decision to not focus on what those in the business field call “being profitable.”
For the moment, though, this is one of the better dining and drinking deals downtown, and that’s saying a lot.
The Steak Fondue comes with four scrumptious sauces, chimichurri, horseradish, bernaise and demi-glace. Yes, we took notes for once in our life, they were just that good.
The deliciousness is due, in large part, to the restaurant’s chef, Sam Marvin.
Marvin has an impressive background, which, were this blog not entirely drunk (yes, there’s Captain Morgan), we would research extensively and pass along. In lieu (more French!) of that, here’s a link.
What we do know is F. Pigalle is a collaboration between Marvin and restaurateur Jeffrey Fine. They’re the team behind the highly-regarded Echo & Rig.
While we’re on the subject of liquor, and when aren’t we, a quirky aspect of F. Pigalle is the wine is served in baby bottles.
The story goes that when the French government began charging a tax for wine served in stemmed glasses, clever French persons began serving alcoholic beverages in baby bottles to evade the taxes. “Viva la tax loophole!”
The added bonus of baby bottles, of course, is the nipple intensifies the buzz, just as drinking through a straw does.
The baby bottles are seriously a thing at “Pig Alley.” How serious?
The Chocolate Fondue is a special treat, with a variety of things to dip into your melted chocolate. There are frozen bananas, strawberries, espresso pound cake and the best thing you could ever dip into melted chocolate, house-made Rice Krispie treats.
Let’s slather stuff with melted chocolate, shall we?
If you can pull yourself away from your Chocolate Fondue, it would be wise to venture out to the restaurant’s patio bar, tentatively called the Red Light Bar.
This outdoor bar is going to be a hit, mark our words.
On opening night, F. Pigalle was offering guests a sample of its Rum & Marriage signature cocktail, and if it’s any indication of the rest of the specialty cocktail menu, we’re going to be spending far, far too much time at the Red Light Bar.
We honestly had no idea what to expect when we heard a fondue restaurant was coming to Fremont Street. It didn’t take long for F. Pigalle to win this Las Vegas blog’s heart and loin. Unless that’s awkward, then we’ll just stick to our heart.
Fondue makes for an interactive, social dining experience, a perfect fit for the expected clientele, including a lot of people who live and work downtown.
F. Pigalle also doesn’t take itself too seriously, a trait this blog holds in very high regard.
Service at F. Pigalle was top-notch, and the ambient music played at precisely the right volume, a big deal if you’re a fan of conversation.
For the moment, F. Pigalle won’t be open for lunch. It will operate 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. The restaurant can be found beetween Park on Fremont restaurant and the now-closed Insert Coins, across the street from the new Smashed Pig Gastropub and Flippin’ Good Burgers & Shakes.
F. Pigalle fondue restaurant and bar in downtown’s Fremont East district is well worth a try, despite the myriad other enticing options in the neighborhood. Let us know what you think, especially if you agree. We’re open-minded like that.
F. Pigalle Restaurant
It’s a trend that’s flown largely under the radar, but MGM Resorts is quietly turning its Las Vegas resorts into non-smoking hotels. (For an update, skip to the bottom of this post.)
MGM Resorts operates what amounts to roughly half the major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Unbeknownst to many travelers, the majority of hotels in MGM Resorts’ portfolio no longer offer smoking rooms as an option.
The MGM Resorts hotels in Las Vegas that no longer offer smoking rooms are: Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Aria and Circus-Circus. (Update: Luxor stopped offering smoking rooms as of Jan. 1, 2016.)
Surprised? Us, too, and we know everything.
Other Las Vegas resorts in the MGM Resorts family have virtually no smoking rooms offered.
Update (4/19/16): The Mirage is now non-smoking, as is MGM Grand. Excalibur is also now completely non-smoking. Bellagio has just one smoking-friendly floor remaining.
While we haven’t been able to get official confirmation, it’s reasonable to assume all these hotels plan to move toward having a fully non-smoking room inventory in the very near future. In fact, an operator at one resort told us that’s the case.
From what we understand, non-smoking rooms also prohibit electronic cigarettes, what the kids call “vapors.”
It should be noted we’re talking only about hotel rooms here. All the hotels mentioned allow smoking in their casinos, because casino management mistakenly believes banning smoking would cause everyone to immediately stop gambling (don’t get us started).
Aside from smoking in their casinos, guests at non-smoking hotels can also do their tumor-facilitating thing in designed smoking areas outside.
From what a company rep said, the non-smoking designation at MGM Resorts hotels doesn’t necessarily apply to suites. For example, while Aria doesn’t offer smoking-permissible rooms, its Aria Sky Suites remain smoking optional.
In case you were curious, guests who don’t abide by the non-smoking room designation get dinged with a $300 cleaning fee. Ouch. Oh, and hotels are getting wise to the “I brought in the butts from my car” scam, so don’t even bother.
So, what are we to make of this new and historic resort evolution?
First, this doesn’t appear to be a marketing decision. MGM Resorts isn’t talking about this change publicly as far as we know. The changes aren’t being kept secret, either. Reps at all the MGM Resorts hotels we called were forthright when asked about this subject.
Second, sorry smokers, but this news is fairly awesome. Smoking is one of the most disgusting things a person can do, surpassed only by French kissing a urinal cake at an asparagus convention. Make smoking less convenient, maybe people smoke less. Everybody wins.
Non-smoking rooms have always been a bit of a sham, anyway. Smoke, along with its associated chemicals, has been shown to travel from smoking rooms to non-smoking.
While this Las Vegas blog is not a hospitality expert, we’re willing to wager there’s a serious cost-saving or revenue-generating reason behind MGM Resorts converting its Las Vegas hotels to non-smoking destinations.
One can only imagine the time and resources hotels spend dealing with the smoking/non-smoking issue. There’s surely a steady stream of guests who don’t get the room they reserved, or who insist upon a room reassignment because of residual odor. Repairing cigarette-burned furniture has to be a cottage industry all its own in a town like Las Vegas.
Other reasons involve safety and health, of course, but those don’t necessarily impact the bottom line, except when one considers the potential savings on fire insurance for a hotel that’s non-smoking.
Conspiracy theorists will no doubt attribute the sea change at MGM Resorts to the fact smokers who can’t smoke in their rooms will make their way to the casino. A definite benefit of the change, but not the reason for it.
It’s interesting this trend doesn’t appear to have been duplicated by MGM Resorts’ major competitor on The Strip, Caesars Entertainment. The random sample of Caesars Entertainment hotels we contacted say they still make smoking rooms available. This has the potential to be a product differentiator for these two companies, although it’s tricky figuring out to whose advantage it may work.
There are already a number of smoke-free hotels in Las Vegas, but until now few, if any, had casinos. Visit our friends at Vegas Solo for a solid list.
The overall trend of hotels banning smoking truly came into its own in 2015. Starwood’s chain of 77 Westin hotels jumped first, then Marriott and Hilton followed. Perhaps MGM Grand is just jumping on the “banwagon.” (We probably should’ve added a “sic” there, but we respect your intelligence too much.)
What does a shrinking pool of smoker-friendly hotels mean for Las Vegas?
The pool of smokers certainly hasn’t declined, with 19 percent of Americans and 29 percent of Europeans smoking. In China, whence come a hefty number of gamblers, it’s estimated 300 million people use tobacco. Will smokers go out of their way to find the few remaining smoking-friendly accommodations? Have they become accustomed to making their way outside to smoke at work and in restaurants, so it’s no big deal?
As with so many things in Las Vegas, once a ship has sailed, it’s rarely unsailed. MGM Resorts is making a dramatic statement by transitioning its Las Vegas hotels to non-smoking, and we suspect others will follow suit.
Because we made it through this entire blog post without a smoking pun, so cut us a break, already.
Update (4/19/16): Since our original story, MGM Resorts resorts in Las Vegas have virtually all gone non-smoking in their rooms. We’ve confirmed Mirage is now completely non-smoking. Excalibur has also joined the ranks of resorts with all non-smoking rooms. As we wrote earlier, Luxor is also now completely non-smoking. MGM Grand is also now completely non-smoking in its hotel rooms. Bellagio has gone from seven smoking floors to one, and Mandalay Bay has just two floors of smoking-friendly rooms (the 10th and 61st).
It’s been announced the last truly classic showgirl show in Las Vegas, “Jubilee,” will close Feb. 11, 2016.
The long-expected news comes on the heels of the passing of the co-creator of the show, Fluff LeCoque. She died Dec. 10, 2015.
“Jubilee” opened July 31, 1981, making it the longest-running show on the Las Vegas Strip.
The lavish show has struggled for several years now, a situation made worse when the production tried an update with the alleged assistance of Frank Gatson Jr., described as a “choreographer and image-maker” for Beyonce.
Gatson’s meddling did little more than cause the show’s original producer, Donn Arden, to whirl in his grave. (Think stripper pole, and you’ll get the general idea.) Gatson was given the boot shortly after his reboot debuted.
We could see the writing on the wall following the overhaul in early 2014 (symbolically, the show’s name lost its exclamation point), but the show miraculously stayed open an additional year, a testament to marketing, international visitors and a show that valiantly kept the image of the statuesque, glamorous showgirl alive and kicking.
“Jubilee” as a show has always seemed a little weird, a mash-up of spectacle, over-the-top fashion and some of the least sexy toplessness onstage anywhere.
Two of the more visually stunning, and technically difficult, segments in “Jubilee” are the sinking of the Titanic and a major melt-down by none other than Samson. Don’t try to connect the dots. “Jubilee” has never been about a coherent story. Nobody’s really sure what it’s been about, but there’s no denying its impact.
For many around the world, the “Jubilee” showgirl is the image that springs to mind when they hear “Las Vegas.” That image of Las Vegas is likely to stick around long after “Jubilee” ends on Feb. 11, 2016.
Much will be made of the closing of “Jubilee.” As this blog has learned covering the show’s ticket sales problems and attempts to modernize, there are die-hard fans of “Jubilee.” Had those die-hard fans seen the show more often, it probably would’ve continued. Financially successful shows don’t close in Las Vegas. It’s the law.
“Jubilee” tickets will no doubt sell well during the two months leading up to its final show, however.
The Las Vegas Sun, which first reported “Jubilee” would close, says the show has had 18,720 performances during its 34-year history, for more than 18 million people.
Ultimately, the closing of “Jubilee” is bittersweet. Love it or loathe it, “Jubilee” is utterly unique. Las Vegas may still have lots of showgirls, technically (“Vegas! The Show” at the Saxe Theater even has the classic kind), but they’re not “Jubilee” showgirls.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out some amazing vintage “Jubilee” costume drawings at UNLV’s Digital Collections.
“Jubilee” was a throwback to another time, and we’re unlikely to see anything like it again.
Worth noting is the fact the show was also a hold-over from a time when revenue generated by a casino could offset the costs associated with an expensive stage production. Now, a show has to earn its keep, all on its own.
When “Jubilee” closes at Bally’s Las Vegas, something new is sure to take its place. Las Vegas thrives on new. Chances are, though, it won’t be iconic. Even with all its anachronistic WTF, “Jubilee” was, and is, undeniably that.