Major Changes In the Works for SLS Las Vegas Restaurants

Following word of the sale of SLS Las Vegas to Alex Meruelo a few weeks ago, we surmised there would be major changes to the resort’s line-up of restaurants, and we were right.

While many of the plans are still in flux, all the restaurants at SLS are being scrutinized. It appears any restaurant with ties to former investor Sam Nazarian and his SBE Entertainment will be flipped to new concepts.

From what we hear, the new owner of SLS, Alex Meruelo, has strong opinions and likes having creative control of his various companies. This extends to what his restaurant offerings will be, and he has apparently already been very involved in selecting what dining options will ultimately stay or go at SLS.

As for the specifics of the restaurant changes, Umami Burger will go.

Umami Burger

You can kiss these lips goodbye.

The vibe of the restaurant is likely to stay the same, though, as it dovetails nicely into the sports book bar vibe. There’s been some discussion with Buffalo Wild Wings to move into the space, but even if that deal doesn’t materialize, the venue is likely to remain a wing and burger restaurant.

The reliably unremarkable 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria will also go, becoming a restaurant with similar cuisine, La Pizza Loca.

SLS pizza

Pizza is like sex. We prefer it with utensils.

La Pizza Loca is a chain in southern California. It’s owned by (wait for it) Meruelo Group. That should be a fairly seamless transition.

Cleo, our favorite restaurant at SLS Las Vegas (and possibly on the entire Strip), is, tragically, also not long for this world.

It’s believed the Mediterranean restaurant (again, licensed from SBE Entertainment) may soon become a Mexican restaurant, along the lines of Michoacan, a popular Las Vegas favorite.

Cleo SLS Las Vegas

Eating at Cleo is like sex. It’s actually better than sex, but when we tell people that, we get odd looks, so we’re sticking with that it’s like sex.

Sushi restaurant Katsuya, another SBE Entertainment-licensed joint, is also likely to go away as the ownership change approaches. Its replacement hasn’t been determined.

Katsuya

“Katsuya” is a Japanese words meaning, “Don’t look now, but your food involves suction cups. And possibly sex, just to keep these photo captions consistent.”

A big question mark is, of course, Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres. It’s regarded as the crown jewel of the SLS restaurant portfolio. We can’t share what’s in store for Bazaar Meat at the moment. All we can say is all the SBE-licensed restaurants are likely to end their run at SLS Las Vegas in the months to come.

Bazaar Meat is an SBE-licensed restaurant.

Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat defies description, especially when we’re drunk.

Word has it there are no plans to re-open the space that was the former home of Ku Noodle. The restaurant has been walled off, and the typical visitor wouldn’t even know it ever existed.

SLS

Ku Noodle is camouflaged much like the a pygmy seahorse resting upon Malaysian red coral. What, you thought we were kidding about the drunk thing?

The one restaurant that isn’t going anywhere is the resort’s 24-hour restaurant, Northside Cafe. Northside Cafe is managed in-house after a partnership with The Griddle Cafe and its owner Jodi Hortze ended with lots of drama nobody ever talks about.

Northside Cafe at SLS

No need for the flop sweat, Northside. You’re safe.

That’s all we know at the moment.

If you read this blog on a regular basis (and why would you?), you know better than to form emotional attachments to anything in Las Vegas. The sole exception is Cleo, of course.

The bottom line: We recommend you hit Cleo and Bazaar Meat at SLS Las Vegas while you can.

Update (6/19/17): An alert reader passes along that Aria is surveying guests about their familiarity with Jose Andres (Bazaar Meat). The tipster suggests the possibility Bazaar Meat could move to barMASA, a Japanese venue which previously set two closing dates.

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  • yetis911

    On one hand you say he wants creative control and on the other, he is considering Buffalo Wild Wings? Yep, that makes perfect sense. Because people come to Vegas to get exactly what they get at home… I hear the Hooters at Palms is closing, maybe since that did so well, they should try a Hooters as well, at their ultra convenient location. Now there is no reason to ever go near the place.

    • Bouldersteve

      There is a segment of the population that are unwilling to try new things.

      • RustyHammer

        Some people are not foodies and want something they know when they travel…. be it domestically or internationally. Seems odd, but to each their own. If the new Sahara is going to draw locals, they might have to give locals something they are familiar with. Overrated BWW fits the bill.

        • Bouldersteve

          No suprises.That is what is important to many people who eat out. It may not be great but you know what to expect

  • Samantha

    Any word on when these closings will take place? My last trip we spent an afternoon at SLS and Cleo was something I really wanted to try, however we had dinner plans elsewhere already. I’ll be back in August and after your review I need to get in there before it becomes yet another Mexican restaurant.

  • RustyHammer

    I don’t care what kind of casserole they serve — flatbread, like that crap at Pizza Cock, or deep dish, like that garbage being served at Giordano’s — as long as they have casserole, or quiche, on the menu then the new Sahara will do gangbuster biz. Fact.

    Anybody try that quiche at Evel Pie yet? I did recently. Meh.

    • EnuffBull

      Ah, so we are adding quiche to the flatbread/casserole description now? Egg-cellent!

      • RustyHammer

        Pretty boy blogger has decided that casserole and quiche are the same thing. Clearly he’s a bachelor who cooks for himself! (Do they still sell Hungry Man frozen dinners?)

    • Bouldersteve

      Its cheap and has a good happy hour which is enough for most but your right the pizza is Meh

  • Wolfdog

    Ate at Northside a few times. Actually pretty good food. Waitresses in tight T shirts and jeans didn’t hurt, either. Hey, I’m trying to show some SLS love. Not easy.

  • Mysterion

    Man, I really liked Umami Burger’s truffle fries. Darn.

  • Photoncounter

    Do they really need restaurants? Why not devote the space to both CVS and Walgreens? Those places attract tourists like moths to a candle.

    • RustyHammer

      they’ll attract locals, too.

      and we need more CVS stores closer to the tourists. when i had to get a prescription filled through CVS while on vacation, i had to go out of my way to get it because there’s no CVS downtown. suprising: no pharmacy at Four Queens. there should be a CVS within a 5-minute walk of every casino on the strip!

      • Photoncounter

        Walk? How about stagger? Or waddle from consuming a whole pizza casserole?

        • RustyHammer

          pizza casserole is a redundant term. by definition pizza is casserole.

          • Photoncounter

            Real pizza is the thin bread kind, cooked in 900 degree ovens in Sicily for about 2 minutes. What your gastric juices desire to dissolve isn’t real pizza but best described as a pizza flavored casserole. A casserole is a deep dish thing. Real pizza isn’t. The place at Monte Carlo comes close to making a decent pizza but not that close. The dough is wrong.

            Perhaps some day you’ll have the opportunity to travel to Catania or Taormina or perhaps some of the smaller villages in Sicily and experience a real pizza.

          • RustyHammer

            What is real? How do you decide if something is real, versus imaginary?

            All that crap being served at Pizza Cock is a figment of Scott’s imagination? Holy cow!

          • Photoncounter

            Have you seen reality from both sides? I have…

  • Jefe

    Vital Vegas blog comments might be the only Vegas comments section where people would rather talk about pizza casserole and totally ignore the fact that a fine dining establishment like Bazaar Meat could be falling by the wayside…..and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • RustyHammer

      the term pizza casserole is redundant. pizza, by pretty boy’s definition, is casserole. you can use one or the other, they’re interchangable.

      calling it pizza casserole is just being pretentious. like saying “soda pop.”

  • ELJ

    Cleo was quite possibly the best restaurant experience I’ve ever had. I like SLS, really want it to be successful

    • It has been. Along with Bazaar, the restaurants at SLS make more money than the casino.

  • Kay Donovan

    The only SLS Las Vegas places I’ve been at when I visited it were Bazaar Meat and Umami Burger from the screenshot above. they were good, but nothing terribly special. I liked them and decided to make both my default spots. People seem to think in the same vein online
    https://restaurantguru.com/Umami-Burger-Las-Vegas
    https://restaurantguru.com/Bazaar-Meat-by-Jose-Andres-SLS-Las-Vegas-Las-Vegas
    Still, I don’t like the news of change. Vegas is the kind of place that needs to find a solid shape. If there are removals and restructurings, i’ll have to find a new spot to go to next time I’m there. SLs venues were perfectly balanced in terms of price, food and service.