Monthly Archives: August 2019

Wolfgang Puck Teams With Vegas Golden Knights Players for Sports Restaurant

Doubt our sources at your peril, as we’ve broken yet another story and it’s probably a good time to remind you of the incontrovertible adage, “It’s not bragging if it’s true.”

We were the first to share Wolfgang Puck will close his Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Downtown Summerlin (about 15 minutes west of The Strip) and the celebrity chef will re-open the venue as a sports restaurant and lounge.

Wolfgang Puck Downtown Summerlin

Solid food, prices a tad too high, good time for a refresh.

In addition, Wolfgang Puck will launch his new effort in partnership with team members of the Vegas Golden Knights. The hockey team. That’s the sport with the ice and the pummeling.
Some people are into it.

Our scoop was immediately confirmed by Tom Kaplan, Senior Managing Partner of Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining.

Wolfgang Puck Vegas Golden Knights

Props to Mr. Kaplan for making this announcement on Twitter. News releases can suck it.

Boom, as the kids say.

Let us be the first one to point out the fact someone with the last name of Puck is teaming up with hockey players. You’re welcome. (Yes, his real last name is Topfschnig. Don’t be a buzzkill.)

The official statement, of course, glosses over the fact restaurants don’t rebrand if they’re doing booming business.

The Downtown Summerlin shopping center is awash in dining options, creating business challenges for dozens of restaurants, even those bearing the names of bigtime chefs.

Downtown Summerlin has 30-plus dining options, and the neighboring Red Rock Resort has an additional 15 or so. Translation: That’s a lot, and a number of good restaurants have gone under, including Crave, Casa Del Matador, Fogo de Chao and others.

We were the first to share another struggling restaurant, Andiron Steak & Sea, will close for at least two months for an overhaul.

As for the new Wolfgang Puck concept, we can all agree the company’s assertion this effort will be “the city’s first true sports restaurant and lounge” is hooey. That aside, having Vegas Golden Knights players involved certainly won’t hurt the chances of success (the team’s practice facility is 30 seconds away).

It also can’t hurt to have a culinary icon doing the menu!

We met Wolfgang Puck a couple of times, he’s a hoot.

Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck is widely credited with making badass restaurants in Las Vegas a thing.

While details about the new Wolfgang Puck concept are few, we’re going to make a wild guess there will be TVs. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

We trust there will also be puckball-themed food items like: “Barnburner Burgers,” “Clapper Snapper,” “Sin Bin Potato Skins,” “Goon Guac,” “Hat Trick Fish Sticks” and “Faceoff Beef Stroganoff.” Not too shabby for making up that list while inebriated.

We’re looking forward to checking out the new Wolfgang Puck sports restaurant and lounge when it opens, yes, despite the sports part. It’s flipping Wolfgang Puck.

Gamblers General Store Moves to New Location

A longtime go-to shop for gambling-related products in downtown Las Vegas, Gamblers General Store, has pulled up stakes and moved to a new location.

Thankfully, the store has only move about 180 feet from its former location, so customers shouldn’t have too much trouble locating it.

Here’s a look a the new digs.

Gamblers General Store

Two words: Dice table felt. Take it home. Learn the game. Get back to Vegas and stick it to The Man. Not to be confused with the “stickman.” Different thing.

The new address for Gamblers General Store is 727 S. Main St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.

From what we hear, the rent got too high at the former location, so the business made a move.

Here’s a hastily-assembled video for a look inside.

At the former location, there were several attempts at a restaurant inside the store’s footprint, but the most recent (and most promising), Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe, tanked.

The restaurant closed “temporarily,” but the operators never came back. It appears no restaurant is in the cards for the new Gamblers General Store location.

Gamblers General Store

If you like gambling, this is the place for you. If not, WTF is wrong with you?

Gamblers General Store has been in operation since 1984. The store boasts 15,000 gambling products, including not only cards, dice and chips, but also items with awesome names like “lammers.”

Beyond the retail shop, the company’s makes some bank with personalized custom chips. Gamblers General Store has made chips for TV shows and movies, including “The Sopranos,” “Ocean’s 11” and even “Casino.” Both Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman get their promotional chips from Gamblers General Store, and that’s endorsement enough for us.

Our home is pretty much a hoarder’s paradise for items we’ve gotten from the Gamblers General Store, so check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Learn more at the official Web site.

Exhibition City: The Biggest Las Vegas Project You Haven’t Heard About Yet

We’ve got the scoop on the biggest Las Vegas development project you haven’t heard about!

How do we know you haven’t heard about it? Because we haven’t, and we know everything.

Behold Exhibition City, a massive, 240-acre project proposed for just south of the Las Vegas Strip.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

Part retail, part arena, part hotel-casino, part auto pavilion, whatever that might actually be.

Details of the project are few, which would tend to make our WTF senses tingle, but it appears one of the world’s most successful and revered architectural firms, Gensler, is involved, so we’re going to reserve judgment in lieu of the kind of tingling we get when somebody proposes a new casino.

Simply put, Gensler is legit.

What we know is Exhibition City is a mixed-use development with three major components: Auto City, Oasis City and Expo City.

Auto City is described as “2.5 million square feet of auto pavilions surrounded by testing tracks, along with retail and a hotel.”

Translation: That’s a metric buttload of feet, square or otherwise.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

We couldn’t find a GoFundMe page for Exhibition City, so that’s probably a good sign.

Oasis City features “extensive retail, a larger hotel combination and an 18,000-seat arena.” As a basis of comparison, that’s about the capacity of T-Mobile Arena when the Vegas Golden Knights play.

Expo City is described as “anchoring” Auto City and Oasis City, and it will have its own hotel and casino.

That sound you hear is us getting warm in our special places. Yes, that makes a sound. It’s probably best to move on.

That’s all the information available about Exhibition City, but even those scant details have our undivided attention.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

They didn’t even mention the fashion pavilion! We are so there.

There’s no mention of who Gesler’s client is, and there’s been no official announcement of the project. There’s a chance that lack of announcement could be an effort to avoid what happened to another very expensive project, Bleutech. Namely, we poked fun at them, and nobody wants that.

The biggest missing piece of information about Exhibition City, of course, is the price tag.

We’ll venture a guess: Two. Billion. Dollars. Give or take a billion.

It’s too early to predict whether this ambitious project will become a reality, but we’re almost always on the side of new and shiny, so we’ll place a judiciously small wager on “yes.”

Because renderings are a terrible thing to waste.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 102: Stratification, Inside Hard Rock Skinny and More

Let us satiate your insatiable hunger for Vegas with the only Las Vegas podcast recommended by habitual self-flagellators.

In this episode, we interview the Vice President of Table Games at The Strat, Brian Stanton.

Among other things, Stanton is the driving force behind the casino’s new policy embracing photography in the casino, a move we’re hoping will catch on, well, everywhere.

Strat selfie

Taking photos is part of the casino experience, or should be. The Strat gets it.

We’ve also got some inside skinny from Hard Rock. Hard Rock recently announced it will close for eight months in 2020 as it transitions to Virgin Hotels, and we’ve got some top secret audio which isn’t really all that top secret but it sounds a lot sexier when we describe it that way.

We also review Ada’s restaurant at Tivoli Village, and share some self-serving media appearances, because we like attention.

The “Listicle of the Week” is “10 Misconceptions About Las Vegas,” at least one of which probably should’ve been “this is a good Las Vegas podcast.”

Think the house always wins? (It doesn’t.) Or that counting cards is illegal? (It’s not.) Or maybe you think casino dealers are rooting for you to lose? (They aren’t.) Do you believe penny slots cost the least to play? (Nope.) Do you think prostitution is legal in Las Vegas? (Really, really nope.) Do you hate being asked lots of questions accompanied by parenthetical answers? We’ve got this!

Take a listen and make your earholes earn their keep, the freeloaders.

Rumor: Resorts World Las Vegas To Abandon Asian Theme

Ever since Resorts World resort was announced, way back in March 2013, the intention was for the new hotel-casino to have an Asian theme, including pandas, a Chinese garden and a replica of the Great Wall of China.

Now, we’ve heard Resorts World Las Vegas will change course and abandon its Asian theme.

“Change course” doesn’t quite do it justice, actually, because absolutely nobody saw that coming.

Hey, Resorts World, if you’re losing the theme, might be a good time to rethink that name, too. Just saying.

Resorts World has been a source of fascination for Vegas watchers. The Resorts World saga has included not only construction delays, but also a lawsuit claiming Resorts World looks too much like Wynn and Encore.

Originally, the $4 billion Resorts World was to break ground in 2014, with the first phase to open in 2016.

The ground breaking happened in 2015, now the opening is slated for late 2020. Ish.

Our most recent photo of Resorts World. Since then, the hotel tower has been topped out (Aug. 15, 2019).

While some consider the sloth-like pace of construction at Resorts World a source of concern, we say it’s a cunning business move.

Las Vegas visitation and room demand isn’t exactly booming at the moment, so if Resorts World brought its 3,000-plus rooms online now, it could be disastrous.

Also wise is the decision to move away from an Asian theme, should that come to pass. Such a theme could limit the appeal of Resorts World, and de-theming of casinos in Las Vegas has been a trend in recent years. (Treasure Island is now TI, for example.)

Challenges related to international travel could very well be a factor in Resorts World reconsidering its theme. (And don’t get us started on the dumpling fire that was Lucky Dragon.)

The official statement in response to our story about Resorts World dropping its Forbidden City theme is a tad on the vague side.

Resorts World statement

Translation: Confirmed.

Doubt our sources at your peril!

Which leads us to wonder if the new vision for Resorts World includes a theme at all.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Resorts World, but rest assured pandas won’t be part of the equation.

Hard Rock Will Close Eight Months to Become a Virgin

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has updated its construction schedule and will now close for eight months in 2020 as it transitions into Virgin Hotels.

The eight-month duration of the renovation hasn’t changed, but originally the resort was to be closed for half that time. Oh, that’s right, we broke that news, too. Thanks for remembering!

Leadership at the resort thought better of the original “phased” approach, and has now opted to close completely for the eight-month renovation period.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Among the many changes, Virgin is having its front opening rejuvenated.

We understand Hard Rock ownership wanted to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of trying to operate during a resort-wide renovation, citing the rebrand of Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo) and refresh of Palms as examples of less-than-ideal outcomes of a phased (otherwise known as “half-assed” in industry parlance) approach.

Hard Rock will close following Super Bowl weekend in 2020.

The last date a guest can book at Hard Rock will be Super Bowl Sunday, or Feb. 2, 2020. Guests will be limited to a two-night stay, so Hard Rock hotel-casino will officially close Feb. 4, 2020.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is expected to open between Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 15, 2020. The specific opening date will be announced down the road. Contractors have said the renovation could potentially be finished as early as Oct. 15, 2020, but the hotel won’t be booking based upon that more ambitious timeline.

Virgin Hotels

Our least favorite definition of “virgin” is “a drink containing no alcohol.”

Estimates put the cost of the rebrand to Virgin at about $200 million, and renovations will touch virtually every part of the off-Strip resort, including an overhaul of all the hotel rooms.

Hard Rock ownership has announced a number of intriguing partnerships. AEG Presents is being brought in to manage The Joint, and as we were the first to share, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will manage Virgin’s casino.

Hard Rock was purchased by JC Hospitality and Richard Branson on March 30, 2018. Hard Rock opened in 1995.

There’s more to come, and you know damn well where you’ll hear it first. Here. In case that wasn’t clear. Please focus.