Here’s look at the restaurant, along with a good dose of throwback charm.
Were Battista’s Hole in the Wall to close, a quirky chapter in Las Vegas history would close as well.
Innumerable celebrities have found their way to Battista’s, known for its (wait for it) off-the-wall Italian decor and Gordon Jaffe, an accordion player who roams the restaurant as he has for more than three decades.
Lots of longtime fans of this barely off-Strip restaurant will bemoan its demise if the rumor pans out, but change is a constant in Las Vegas, just like poker chips, neon and women carrying their pumps after a night in the club.
The D casino announced it now offers what amounts to ATMs at its table games, and the Internet sort of lost its mind.
In a news release, The D shared it has “officially debuted a new automated cashless gaming system, ACS PlayOn, for all table games.”
The release continues, “Offering a convenient experience for guests, PlayOn is a modern technology that allows players to purchase casino chips using a debit card, eliminating the need to use an ATM machine or cashier’s window between hands.”
Cue the mind-losing.
Here’s a look at the kerfuffle-causer in question.
Reminder: PIN stands for “personal identification number,” so please don’t say “PIN number.” It’s like saying “please RSVP.” Really annoying.
Simply put, when you’re at the table (roulette, craps, blackjack, whatever), you can use your debit card to get chips.
That’s pretty much it.
Yes, there’s a fee. We know how you are.
The fee is $4, plus 2.5% of whatever you withdraw. So, for $100, that’s a total of $6.50, or about the same as an ATM fee. (Reminder: ATM stands for “automated teller machine,” so please don’t say “ATM machine.” Sorry to call you out, news release, but common mistake.)
It’s worth noting the PlayOn machines don’t accept credit cards. They also won’t let you exceed your debit card’s maximum daily withdrawal limit.
This seemingly straightforward service has already been in place at Palms since December 2019. The system will also be available at Golden Gate (same owners as The D) and The Strat in the next few days (as yet unannounced).
News of the system’s debut at The D seems to have hit a nerve.
Most of the feedback on the Twitters relates to the belief people will gamble more than they typically would because the cashless system makes money (or chips) too readily available.
There was also some discussion of the fee being too high. At The D, players can withdraw $50-$3,000. The 2.5% fee on $3,000 would be $75, presumably.
We didn’t read the fine print. We were drunk. Full disclosure: We still are. You’re not our mom.
Our brilliant response to most of the criticism of this system was, “It’s an ATM, just closer.”
A good number of people expressed that in the heat of the moment, a player having to stand up and walk to an ATM might give them time to ponder their life choices and avoid the impulse to throw good money after bad.
Interestingly, few mentioned people often win in casinos when they throw good money after bad. Glass half empty, much?
The controversy about “tabletop ATMs” in casinos isn’t new. When Palms got its system in 2019, the news coverage ranged from balanced to outright damning.
All we know for sure is if we’re playing blackjack and out of cash but want to double down, now we can do it without leaving the table (and without borrowing the money using a “marker,” or casino credit).
We’d love to hear your thoughts about this, as the amount of negative feedback was genuinely surprising, and we tend to know everything.
Another disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience. The D is a member casino of that organization. Our opinions are our own.
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 comes from well-known Michigan restaurateur Paul Saginaw.
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.
“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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
Why do we feel like our pleas for a “No Sports” section is going to go unanswered?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 is the green one.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.
It’s been a minute since we shared photos of Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, so consider this that.
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 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.
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.
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.