Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Stratosphere to Get $140 Million in Renovations, Will Call Itself “The Strat” Like the Rest of Us

The new owners of Stratosphere, Golden Entertainment, plan to invest $140 million in upgrades to the Las Vegas resort over the next three years.

In the process, Stratosphere will start calling itself by the name most of us do, The Strat.

Stratosphere

You sort of can’t miss it.

Golden Entertainment purchased Stratosphere and several other casinos (including two Arizona Charlie’s locations in Vegas) in Oct. 2017.

As part of the Strat renovation, nearly half its rooms (1,100 or so) will be refreshed, the casino floor will be upgraded and a new loyalty program will be rolled out.

Plans are for additional restaurants to come online, too, and the Top of the World restaurant will also be revamped.

Stratosphere

This is easily one of the best views in Las Vegas, which is saying something because we’ve been to strip clubs.

The resort will also get a new gastro-brewery near its sports book, as well as a new steakhouse and a bar “appealing to a younger demographic.”

The Strat will also embrace youth culture with a new casino space called Adrenaline.

There are also plans for a noodle bar (in Las Vegas, it’s the law) and Starbucks (again, the law) and food hall concept.

Renovations and additions will be done in phases to help avoid disruption. In the casino world, of course, “disruption” is a code word for “interruption in revenue generation.”

Included in the first phase of the renovations will be dramatic changes to the Stratosphere’s signage. Plans submitted to the City of Las Vegas show about 20 new additions to Stratosphere’s exterior.

Strat signage

It’s going to be a good year for Yesco.

In renderings, all the signage shows the use of “The Strat,” rather than the full name of the resort.

Here’s a look at the observation tower’s main marquee.

Stratosphere signage

In all the renderings, we could find no use of “Stratosphere” on the exterior of the building. Clean break.

Fun fact: That same marquee got a facelift in Feb. 2016.

The Strat marquee

We have officially taken a photo of everything.

Stratosphere reps haven’t confirmed whether the signage is indicative of a complete rebrand, per se, but we’d wager yep.

The Strat signage

Like a number of attractions in Las Vegas, the thrill rides at Stratosphere are suffering a bit at the moment. Get your act together, Millennials.

Here’s a look at additional upgrades coming to The Strat’s hotel tower.

See? “The Strat” just flows better, don’t you think?

The Strat signage

The “stratos” in “Stratosphere” comes from the Latin “stratus,” meaning “a spreading out.” Seems like a buffet relaunch opportunity right there.

Plans are also in the works for LED strip lighting to raise the visibility of the Strat’s hotel.

Strat signage renovation

We like our Vegas glowy.

The plans for upgraded lighting and signage are pretty slick, although we can never fully get onboard with plans to replace neon with LEDs. We’re sentimental like that.

Of course, there are always a few dissenting opinions when anything new is proposed, but expect the signage upgrades to happen in the next few months.

We quite enjoy our visits to the Stratosphere, especially the happy hour at its 107 SkyLounge, formerly Level 107 Lounge.

The substantial investment by Golden Entertainment shows they are optimistic about activity on the north end of The Strip, including the sale of SLS, the purchase of Fontainebleau, slow but steady work at Resort World and expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Strat logo

Finally, a casino rebrand that will take zero getting used to.

We love new things, so we look forward to seeing what The Strat has in store in addition to its impressive erection.

Oh, like you didn’t see that coming.

Or that.

Do you know this blog at all?

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Everything You Need to Know About the $100 Million Kind Heaven at Linq Promenade

Caesars Entertainment, Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell and other collaborators have announced an ambitious, $100 million project for the Linq promenade on the Las Vegas Strip, Kind Heaven.

Since we know how you like to skim, we’re going to cut through the WTF and sum the project up in a way its development team and other publications have not: In English.

Kind Heaven is an Asian-themed walk-through attraction with music festival roots.

Don’t say we never did anything for you.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Prediction: Best-selling item in the Kind Heaven gift shop will be mosquito repellent.

Yes, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the essence of Kind Heaven. The details range from breathtakingly original to laughably absurd.

Kind Heaven is a little bit theme park, a little bit interactive theater, all wildly original for Las Vegas, and the entire concept is based upon a dream. More on that in a moment.

The intention is for Kind Heaven to be a unique experience, and from what’s been shared, it could actually end up being just that. It could also be a colossal disaster, which is part of what makes it so exciting.

Let’s dive into this whimsically weird attraction set to open in 2019 in Las Vegas.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Kind Heaven’s logo features a number of symbols, all of which have growths which should probably be looked at by a physician.

The project is being put together by a powerhouse team of creative minds and Caesars Entertainment. That may have come out wrong.

Aside from Perry Farrell (founder of the Lollapalooza music festival), there’s also Cary Granat, co-founder and CEO of Immersive Artistry. Granat is also the former CEO of Walden Media (which produced the “Chronicles of Narnia” film series) and was formerly the president of Miramax.

Also on the team is visual effects pioneer, Ed Jones. Jones was involved with blockbuster films like “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Indiana Jones” and “E.T.” He’s the president of Immersive Artistry.

So, there are some creative minds at work on the Kind Heaven project.

The driving force, though, is Perry Farrell. He’s the one whose dream inspired Kind Heaven.

Farrell says that in his dream, he “descended upon an imaginary city from the sky and watched a girl pickpocket someone who was passed out on the street.”

It takes a true visionary to have a dream and say, “That’s a $100 million idea right there!”

Whores book cover

Let us introduce you to Perry Farrell, the man once voted “Least Likely to Ever Work With Caesars Entertainment, Ever.”

From there, back in 2014, Farrell tried to develop an “EDM-driven immersive theatrical production” called “Kind Heaven.” That show, which was intended for Las Vegas, never became a reality, but the Kind Heaven dream apparently lived on. Read more in Rolling Stone.

The specifics of Kind Heaven aren’t easy to pin down, but that’s probably because its developers haven’t quite sorted everything out yet.

What we do know is Kind Heaven will be located at the Linq promenade shopping center. The pedestrian mall is anchored by the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the High Roller. And In N Out.

Kind Heaven will cover a whopping 100,000 square feet of space with 40 food stations and bars. Hint: That’s a lot.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Bonus points if your first thought was “Blade Runner”!

Kind Heaven will “transport visitors to Southeast Asia” via a “virtual train” and is set to feature holographic special effects, streetscapes and holy temples in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Hong Kong.

According to Cary Granat, the venue will feature music from 130 artists on five stages. Hey, we said it’s whimsical.

Farrell will curate the “audio soundscape” for Kind Heaven, because why would you ever want to just call something what it is? This is art, that’s why.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

When “Jubilee” opened in Las Vegas, there was a worldwide rhinestone shortage. With Kind Heaven, look forward to a worldwide monk robe shortage.

Kind Heaven will be family-friendly by day and adults-only at night. According to Farrell, the adults-only part will presumably include “street walkers, nightclubs and sake bombs.”

We’ll see how much of that makes it through Caesars Entertainment’s notoriously stifling review and approval process.

Perry Farrell has provided some of the most vivid (and confounding) descriptions of the attraction.

He told Billboard, “You’re basically walking through a 90-minute show routed in mythology and original content. When you’re within the complex, you’re free to roam around and discover hidden alleyways, visit nightclubs and eat from Hong Kong-style street food vendors. There will be improvisational actors, musicians, acrobats and comedians, combining elements of sensuality and espionage into an experience that will be a first of its kind.”

Think Fremont Street Experience, but rather than downtown’s casino “theme,” an Asian one.

No, really.

Live musical performances on multiple stages (three on Fremont Street, five at Kind Heaven), street performers, bars and restaurants, roaming and exploring, sensuality and immersion.

Oh, and let’s not forget, ziplines. Caesars Entertainment announced its Fly Linq project back in November 2017.

You think we’re kidding about Fremont Street being the inspiration for Kind Heaven? They even included a vagrant in their rendering!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Not happening. Unlike Fremont Street, Linq promenade is private property.

Full disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, and worked in marketing at Caesars Entertainment as well back in the day. Our opinions are obviously our own, and God, we feel old.

Here are some other notable features of the Kind Heaven attraction:

googie Kind Heaven is specifically intended to appeal to Millennials.

googie It will be cashless. Our first experience with a similar cashless system was at Rock in Rio USA, the music festival held at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds across from SLS Las Vegas. Event organizers love RFID wristband payment systems because they help avoid employee theft and there’s a windfall from the “breakage.” Read more.

googie The attraction will accept digital currencies like Bitcoin.

googie It will feature “wearable tech.”

googie The exact location of Kind Heaven isn’t entirely clear at this juncture, but it’s likely to span the space between Flamingo and the Linq hotel.

googie The attraction will be open to people of all ages from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., close for three hours and re-open for those 21 and older.

googie The venue will have a “Dynamo” stage with a capacity of 1,000 people for concerts.

googie Objects inside the attraction will have RFID tags, and everything will be for sale. Well, almost everything. Farrell says, “Everything that you see, except for my wife, is for sale.”

Kind Heaven Las Vegas bar

Fun game! See if you can spot the drama. Answer below.

googie There may be holographic porn. Farrell says he’d like to have a holographic porn of himself. We are not making this up. Read more.

googie The venue will feature virtual monkeys that wrestle each other, robotic chickens and 20-foot snake. Guests will presumably be able to wager on the matches.

googie It will take 18 months of construction.

googie Kind Heaven will create 200 construction jobs.

googie The attraction will employ 670, exclusive of the holographic monkeys.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

“Honey, she’s a friend from work!”

There have been conflicting reports about how many stories Kind Heaven will take up, ranging from three to five to seven.

Specifics of three levels of Kind Heaven have been shared, though.

Level one is a night market. On this level, at a bar called The Dispensary, guests will be able to order feelings. That is absolutely not a typo. We trust one of the feelings will be “WTF?”

Level two is The Forest, with lost temples and cities, tree houses and lush vegetation. Millennials love their vegetation lush.

Level three is The Sanctuary. This level will be above the Vortex (that colorful, tornado shaped structure at Linq hotel). This area is likely to feature EDM.

And more drama!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Matt Goss’ girlfriend is not pleased.

And while we’re on the subject, Matt Goss is everywhere at Kind Heaven. Remember that rendering of “The Forest”?

Kind Heaven

The one thing we know for sure about Kind Heaven is Matt Goss is getting a lot of tail.

Yep, Matt Goss and friends.

Kind Heaven

There’s a small chance this isn’t actually Matt Goss. Would it kill you to just play along, or at least pretend you know who Matt Goss is?

As we’re taking a closer look at the Kind Heaven renderings, we would like to also point out there’s more drama lurking in the forest image.

Kind Heaven Linq

You were so busy worrying about Matt Goss, you didn’t notice this situation developing nearby.

And don’t get us started about what else is going on in The Forest!

The jealous confrontation in the bar has apparently resulted in the scorned woman having her leg amputated!

Kind Heaven Linq

When they said there would be danger at Kind Heaven, they weren’t kidding.

That just about covers what we know about Kind Heaven, and we’re exhausted.

So, can a $100 million, Asian-themed attraction based upon a dream thrive on the Las Vegas Strip? We hope so.

Doesn’t Disneyland feels like a dream made real? Come to think of it, doesn’t Las Vegas?

We’ve heard convincing arguments from industry insiders saying Kind Heaven is set to be the biggest game-changing success in the history of Las Vegas. We’ve heard equally compelling arguments Kind Heaven will be the biggest flop in the history of Las Vegas.

Here’s what we think.

Casinos are scrambling to draw the next generation of Las Vegas visitors. Skill-based slot machines, cornhole and eSports are feeble, fruitless attempts at doing so.

With Kind Heaven, Caesars Entertainment is being bold and Las Vegas was built on audacity.

Here’s hoping the dream that is Kind Heaven pays off, because when bold wagers come through in Las Vegas, we all win.

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Eureka Restaurant Opens on Fremont East and People Seem to Like It

The opening of Eureka restaurant on Fremont East was bittersweet for many denizens of downtown.

The chain restaurant opened in a space formerly home to the Beat Coffeehouse, a popular haunt until it closed in Sep. 2016.

Eureka restaurant

Downtown is a special place to have patio dining. You’re sure to meet new people, some of whom have little to no need of delousing.

Eureka opened just a few weeks ago (Feb. 12, 2018) and has been doing brisk business since day one.

We don’t exactly get what people like so much about the place, but far be it from us to tell others what to like. We’re Switzerland like that.

To get a feel for Eureka, imagine Claim Jumper, but without the kids.

Eureka Fremont Street

Bonus points if you can guess why Eureka should cross-promote with a Cirque show at MGM Grand. We’ll wait.

The menu at Eureka is made up of a lot of words we didn’t recognize, so we went straight for the Eureka American Cheeseburger.

At $11, the price is a tad aspirational. It’s downtown, after all, where some of the best burgers in Las Vegas reside. Specifically, at Binion’s and El Cortez, where great burgers run around $5.

Eureka

Our medium well burger was decidedly medium, and the meat had a funky aftertaste, but look how pretty we made it, anyway.

Burger aficionados will no doubt want to explore the menu further for items like the Bone Marrow Burger, Bison Burger, Jalapeno Egg Burger, Veggie Beet Burger and Fresno Fig Burger.

To us, that list pretty much represents the five circles of Hell.

We had better luck during another visit to Eureka, where we enjoyed a respectable pair of fried chicken sliders ($13.50).

Eureka Fremont Street

If “perfectly acceptable” is a compliment, then we’re giving Eureka a compliment!

The Mac N’ Cheese Balls are worth a try, and not just because we wanted to make our mom blush while reading this sentence.

Eureka

Think of the cheese as the yin and the macaroni as the yang. No real reason. We just wanted to see if you’d do it.

Other appetizers include Lollipop Corn Dogs, Truffle Cheese Fries, Cauliflower Bites and Crispy Glazed Brussels Sprouts.

Salads, sandwiches and tacos round out the Eureka menu.

The dessert menu is limited to a Bourbon Barrel Cake and American Chocolate Budino, but they looked tempting on their way to other diners.

One of the big draws of Eureka is its hooch.

Eureka boasts 40 craft beers on tap. We have never personally had a beer, but that sounds like a robust selection for those who imbibe in the rocketsauce. Which has to be a legit name for beer because we found it on the Internet.

Eureka Las Vegas

Beer and vaginas have about the same acidity levels. We are not making this up.

Eureka has a welcoming central bar perfect for solo diners who like slow, inattentive service.

Eureka has a slew of signature cocktails we look forward to trying on someone else’s tab.

Signature cocktails run the gamut, which is what we typically say when we don’t have time to actually read the menu.

Specialty cocktails run from $10-15, and the first we’re likely to try is the Electric Butterfly, which features a “buzz button,” otherwise known as a “Szechuan button,” the herb made famous in Las Vegas by the Cosmopolitan’s Verbena cocktail.

Eureka’s happy hour runs from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to closing.

Eureka happy hour

For a mere buck off beer, it’s more of a “mildly amused hour” than a happy hour, but a discount’s a discount.

Overall, Eureka is an adequate addition to the restaurant and bar options on Fremont East. The atmosphere is lively without being too loud (unlike it’s neighbor across the street, Commonwealth, which has been known to implode an eardrum at 100 yards).

In case you’re unfamiliar with the Fremont East district, here’s a better look at one half of it.

Fremont East district

From left, it’s Park on Fremont, Evel Pie, Red, Vanguard Lounge, Therapy and Eureka.

As we said, Eureka is consistently busy, but it remains to be seen if that’s more the result of a honeymoon period than compelling fare or libations.

Our beer-swilling friends swear Eureka has one of the best selections in town, so give it a try and let us know what you think.

Eureka Restaurant at Fremont East

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Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is a Cut Above

Las Vegas has so many great steakhouses, it’s sometimes difficult to choose between them.

Solution: Try them all.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Let’s Delmonico! Which, we admit, up to this point, hasn’t really been a verb.

Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is one you’ll need to visit at some point, because it exemplifies many of the things a Las Vegas steakhouse should provide: Outstanding food and world-class service.

Delmonico Steakhouse at Venetian is owned by Emeril Lagasse, one of the few remaining celebrity chefs without a sex scandal.

Delmonico Steakhouse

You don’t need a slick exterior when you have such good cocktails on the interior.

Delmonico opened in May 1999, and while it doesn’t get the buzz of its flashier counterparts, we found the restaurant to be top-notch, with steaks that stand out from much of the competition.

Hint: It’s the rub.

The superb quality of the steaks might also be because they’re dry-aged, in-house. But mostly the rub thing. The steaks are lovingly massaged with Creole seasonings, then get a healthy (so to speak) dab of butter to ensure your meal is memorable.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Get in our belly.

Beyond the exceptional steaks, the service is pure old-school pampering. Expert waiters guide guests through the menu and a wine list with 2,300 selections. And boy are our arms tired.

You know you’re in a fancy joint when they make your Caesar salad tableside.

Delmonico Steakhouse

To get a fresher salad, you’d need to be in a field gnawing on lettuce while it’s still in the ground. If you go that route, please send photos.

You may never go back to ordinary salads.

Delmonico Steakhouse

Yes, we actually ate a salad. Peer pressure.

Don’t forget the sides. They run the gamut from Country Smashed Potatoes (pictured below), steak fries and Duck Fat Fingerling Potatoes to creamed spinach, sauteed garlic mushrooms and Baked Anson Mills Grits, whatever grits might actually be.

Delmonico Steakhouse

We tend to stick with foods we can pronounce.

Delmonico Steakhouse also boasts some delicious signature cocktails. You knew we’d get around to those, eventually.

Our waiter recommended the New Orleans Nectar. We do not remember what was in this cocktail, which leads us to believe it was fantastic.

Delmonico Steakhouse

You might as well just order these by the dozen.

You can check out the lunch, dinner and dessert menus, as well as the specialty cocktail and beer menus, at the official Delmonico Steakhouse site.

The decor at Delmonico Steakhouse is understated by Vegas standards. There are vaulted ceilings and glass French doors, among other flourishes.

Delmonico Steakhouse

It’s not cheap, but you’re worth it. Yes, we’re suddenly a L’Oreal commercial.

Delmonico Steakhouse gets its name from another Emeril Lagasse restaurant in New Orleans, Emeril’s Delmonico.

It’s fancy without being snooty, and tends to be full of businesspersons with company credit cards.

While there’s no dress code, keep it classy. The restaurant’s Web site says, “We recommend business casual attire. However, smart-casual attire is completely acceptable. We ask that gentlemen not wear sleeveless shirts.”

Good luck trying to figure out the difference between “business casual” and “smart-casual.” Translation: Don’t be a schlub, you’ll be good.

Delmonico Steakhouse

We trust those are the vaulted ceilings. We are a blog, not Architectural Digest.

Great food, excellent service and extraordinary company results in a quintessential Las Vegas steakhouse experience at Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian’s restaurant row.

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Redneck Riviera Rumored to Be Closing at Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s

It’s been open for less than a year, but we hear Redneck Riviera is closing at Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s.

Redneck Riviera opened in Feb. 2017, backed by country star John Rich, whoever that might actually be.

Redneck Riviera

Every time a place with country music closes, an angel gets its wings.

The decision to pull the plug on the country-themed Redneck Riviera comes after months of struggling to connect with Las Vegas visitors.

Redneck Riviera featured live country music and a “Heroes Bar,” touted as being “staffed by veterans” and offering military members and veterans their first drink free.

The bar had some distinctive decorative elements, including an American flag fashioned from beer cans, a sequined saddle and creative bathroom fixtures.

Redneck Riviera bathroom

Dibs.

It’s unknown what will replace Redneck Riviera after it closes, expected to happen as soon as the end of the month.

Updated (2/20/18): Our story has been confirmed with the closure of Redneck Riviera at Grand Bazaar Shops. It appears the venue’s Facebook page hasn’t been informed of the closure, and the Grand Bazaar Shops Web site is also in denial.

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Fremont East’s Eureka Restaurant Reveals Menu

Eureka restaurant is coming to Fremont East, and we’ve got a peek at the menu.

Eureka Fremont East

The Emergency Arts building was started as a “arts and cultural business complex.” Some bemoan the deminse of The Beat Coffeehouse, but we aren’t them. Coffee is gross.

The Eureka menu exclaims, “All-American scratch kitchen and craft bar driven by energy, discovery and community.” Translation: “Look! We got a marketing copywriter!”

Anyway, here’s the left half of the menu, featuring shareable appetizers, salads, sandwiches and tacos.

Eureka restaurant menu

Every single item on the “Share It” menu would make a great band name.

We want to point out the Mac N’ Cheese Balls, mainly because we like saying “Mac N’ Cheese
Balls,” and also get to point out they’re serving balls in a scratch kitchen. Yes, we’re 14.

Here’s the right side of the menu, including signature dishes, a robust, funky selection of
burgers and a couple of token desserts.

Eureka restaurant menu

Thanks, Eureka, for narrowing down our dining options by including bone marrow, bison, veggie beet, jalapeno egg and fig.

Here’s a larger version of the whole Eureka menu so you don’t herniate yourself.

Eureka opens Feb. 12, 2018 in the space formerly occupied by the beloved The Beat Coffeehouse, just across from El Cortez.

If you’re having difficulty imagining where Eureka is located, we’ve got a handy photo that
covers the whole north side of Fremont East.

Fremont East district

From left to right, it’s Park on Fremont, Evel Pie, Red, Vanguard Lounge, Therapy and Eureka.

While those price points on the menu don’t seem outrageous compared to The Strip, this restaurant is opening on Fremont East. Revelers can get two of the best burgers in Las Vegas at El Cortez or Binion’s for about $5, so we’ll see how Eureka fares.

We look forward to being pleasantly surprised.

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