Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Shocker: Tropicana Announces Reopening Date

While most Las Vegas casinos have reopened since the shutdown, a notable straggler has finally announced a reopening date.

Tropicana Las Vegas will reopen Sep. 1, 2020.

Tropicana reopening

There’s nothing sexier than a laptop tan line.

Tropicana has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The resort will open with safety protocols which have now become standard in Las Vegas casinos: The hotel and casino will be limited to 50% capacity, and social distancing and mandatory masks will be in place as well.

Several of Trop’s restaurants will be opening with the resort, including Robert Irvine’s Public House (meh), Red Lotus Asian Kitchen (also meh), Bacio (haven’t tried it yet) and Oakville Steakhouse (excellent).

Oakville Las Vegas

Our face will be revisiting this dessert at Oakville on our around Sep. 1.

Tropicana recently sold itself (Penn National Gaming) to itself (Penn’s real estate investment trust). It’s complicated, but the upshot is the “sale” ensured rent would be paid all Penn’s casinos across the country, including Tropicana, throughout the crisis.

Penn also owns M Resort, which opened June 4, along with most other Las Vegas casinos.

Penn has made no secret of the fact Tropicana remains up for sale, but reopen it shall.

We honestly never realized how much we miss the Tropicana until we heard it’s reopening, and September can’t get here soon enough.

Las Vegas Reportedly Has Most Restaurants Per Capita, Sorta

The data’s dubious, but there’s no denying the number is a notable coincidence: Las Vegas reportedly has the highest density of restaurants in the U.S. with a sinful 666 per every 100,000 residents.

The numbers were crunched by as a marketing and traffic-generation tool (mission accomplished), a mash-up of Census Bureau, TripAdvisor and Yelp data.

Vegas restaurants per capita

Scientific, this ain’t.

While the devilish 666 has some entertainment value, it also comes with a metric hell-ton of caveats.

The population number used to calculate the “666 restaurants per capita ” is 651,319. That’s the population of the City of Las Vegas. (The Las Vegas Strip isn’t in the City of Las Vegas.)

Metropolitan Las Vegas has 2,227,053 residents. Using that number would certainly skew the “per capita” stat a bit.

The number of restaurants used is 4,337. That’s all of Las Vegas (gleaned from TripAdvisor), not just in the City of Las Vegas.

We’d do a better calculation of the number of restaurants in Las Vegas per capita, but even that number would be wonky because many of these restaurants aren’t for residents, they’re for tourists.

Speaking of wonky, the “restaurants per capita” report included what’s touted as the “top-rated local restaurant”: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.

Yeah, no.

All due respect to Yardbird.

Yardbird Las Vegas

The devil theme continues with Yardbird’s deviled eggs with dill, chives and smoked trout roe.

It looks like grabbed this information from Yelp, which currently shows Bacchanal Buffet and Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen as first and second “most recommended,” with Yardbird third. The “highest-rated” Las Vegas restaurant on Yelp seems to be Bajamar Seafood & Tacos, whatever that might actually be.

Which brings us to the question: Why did we even write about this in the first place?

Oh, right, 666.

If you add up all the numbers on a roulette table, they add up to 666. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the “devil’s game.”

There. This wasn’t a complete waste of time. Probably.

Dick’s Last Resort Coming to Neonopolis

Longtime Excalibur fixture Dick’s Last Resort is bringing its quirky restaurant to downtown’s Neonopolis mall.

Dick's Last Resort

Let the “negging” begin.

According to Eater Vegas, Dick’s Last Resort will move into the space formerly occupied by the ill-fated Cannabition Museum. The museum’s footprint was huge, about 10,000-square-feet, and the space was adorned with massive, cannabis-themed murals.

The cannabis museum closed in July 2019.

weed museum mural

Weed murals out, people wearing bags on their heads with funny sayings, in.

Dick’s Last Resort, known for its intentionally-rude waitstaff and lively atmosphere, is owned by the same company as the Deja Vu strip club chain.

The company also owns the Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis.

Cat's Meow

We’d bet Cat’s Meow and Dick’s got a package deal on rent.

Dick’s Last Resort will extend its reach with an outdoor patio in the Neonopolis courtyard.

While the Dick’s Last Resort party vibe and snarky attitude seems a great fit for Fremont Street, Neonopolis continues to be a challenge for tenants.

That said, the operation could very well give the also-irreverent Heart Attack Grill, a few feet away from the new location, a run for its money.

Dick’s Last Resort is slated to open in 2021.

Ahern Hotel Quietly Opens Top-Notch Italian Steakhouse

It’s a strange time to open a Las Vegas restaurant, but Ahern Hotel has done just that.

Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse has flown under the radar since its debut, but we expect that’s going to change dramatically.

The bread alone makes Chef Marc’s a destination restaurant.

Chef Marc's Italian Steakhouse

Do not weigh yourself after looking at this photo.

Ahern Hotel, of course, is the rebranded Lucky Dragon. The hotel is located a block or two west of Las Vegas Boulevard on Sahara.

If Ahern sounds familiar, it’s because Lucky Dragon was purchased by Don Ahern, owner of a construction rental company, Ahern Rentals. We have no idea how much John Ahern knows about running a hotel, but after meeting Chef Marc Sgrizzi, we’re convinced he knows talent
when he sees it.

Marc Sgrizzi is the former owner of the popular Chef Marc’s Trattoria in Lakeside Village, wherever that might actually be.

Chef Marc's Italian Steakhouse

Ahern Hotel still has a lot of Lucky Dragon inside.

Our first interaction with Chef Sgrizzi was when he called back to confirm our dinner reservation. We naturally assumed he recognized our name and wanted to roll out the red carpet for a self-important social Las Vegas influencer. Yeah, no.

Come to find out, the chef was literally calling every customer to confirm their reservation to ensure his longtime fans knew how to get to his new restaurant.

The only thing that impressed us more was the chef’s life-altering Jidori Chicken Parmesan, easily one of the best we’ve ever had. And we have had some chicken parm in our day.

Chef Marc's Italian Steakhouse

If we ever have to choose between rescuing a baby or this chicken parm from a fire, well, you’re on your own, baby.

We had no idea what a Jidori chicken was, but we are currently a fan.

The menu at Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse is abbreviated at the moment, because the venue is in a time of transition and because of some challenges related to disrupted supply chains.

There are big plans in the works both for the restaurant and Ahern Hotel overall, including about $10 million in renovations. We’ve got lots of juicy renderings in the photo gallery.

Here’s a look at the future Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse. It sits in the space former occupied by Lucky Dragon’s Pearl Ocean restaurant.

Here’s a look inside, but don’t get too attached.

Ahern Hotel

You tried, Lucky Dragon. You tried.

Here’s a rendering of the future of dining at Ahern Hotel.

Chef Marc's Ahern Hotel

Props for the diversity, Ahern Hotel.

Chef Sgrizzi took us on a whirlwind tour of some spaces at Ahern, so take a listen to his interview on the Vital Vegas Podcast.

There are a lot of peculiar things left over from the Lucky Dragon days, including small rooms once used for table games which will at some point be converted into small, Italian-themed dining rooms.

We also found a high-tech Japanese toilet once used by Asian whales. It was awesome, but didn’t get a lot of use, if you get our drift.

Ahern Hotel Vegas

Lucky Dragon filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and about 180 EB-5 investors took it in the butt.

Chef Marc Sgrizzi will oversee all food and beverage offerings at Ahern Hotel, and there will be a dramatic change of course from Lucky Dragon’s misguided decision to only provide Asian fare.

Sgrizzi has a lot of ambitious plans, but the main one we care about involves gelato.

The chef mentioned something called a Frigomat. We don’t know what that is, but it sounded delicious, and we’d like one stuffed into a waffle cone, thanks.

The chef also mentioned a speakeasy, so there’s that.

Chef Marc's Italian Steakhouse

Like we said, it’s weird at the moment, but the smizing makes up for it.

The food and drinks at Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse were truly outstanding, and we recommend checking it out with the caveat it’s not fully-formed yet.

Ahern Hotel is set to focus on meetings and conventions, and won’t have a casino. From what we can tell, renovations will begin shortly and are expected to be completed in late 2020.

Chef Marc’s is currently closed on Mondays. Get reservation information on the official Ahern Hotel Web site.

Enjoy a few more photos, and let us know if you have a chance to try this mouthwatering new restaurant with the unforgettable chicken parm just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Joe’s Steakhouse at Forum Shops Institutes Optional COVID-19 Crisis Fee

One of our favorite Las Vegas restaurants, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab at the Forum Shops, has risked the ire of customers with a new “COVID-19 offset fee” in the amount of four percent on all checks.

The reasoning for the fee is provided on the company’s Web site.

Joe's COVID fee

Don’t bury the lede, Joe’s. The fee is optional!

While we’d typically lose our mind over a fee like this, we’re reeling in the WTF this time. Hear us out.

We’ll say up front we think this fee is a bad look for Joe’s and its parent company, Lettuce Entertain You.

But everyone can agree restaurants are going through a particularly difficult time right now.

Yeah, understatement of the year.

In Las Vegas, most have had zero revenue in more than two months during the shutdown.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

Joe’s will change your life. You can’t put a price on that.

Even as restaurants have opened their doors again, they have been faced with a daunting 50% occupancy limitation. Even the most financially successful restaurants (Joe’s is one of those) are struggling with the unprecedented financial challenge that limitation (in addition to new costs related to safety protocols and equipment) presents.

To the credit of Joe’s, they’re transparent about the fee. It’s not only on the restaurant’s Web site, it’s on the menu and printed on the checks.

Joe's COVID receipt

Optional is cool. Keep an eye out for restaurants where it’s mandatory.

The biggest saving grace is the restaurant makes it very clear customers can simply ask to have the fee removed.

So, it’s completely optional.

We initially figured we’d ask to have the fee removed, but as we thought about it further, we’re pretty sure we’re going to pay it.

Why? We love Joe’s. We love that Joe’s employees are finally back to work. We want to place to thrive, and we don’t mind helping Joe’s through a rough patch.

Yes, Joe’s could just add 4% to their prices, but that could end up being permanent. This “offset” fee is very much temporary, just the way we prefer our fees.

As mentioned, Joe’s is one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas, and it’s hard to get too mad when you love something so much. They get a pass from us this time.

If you refuse to pay fees out of principal, good for you. As to have the 4% removed from your tab and tip the server 24%. You can afford it. You’re eating at Joe’s!

Thanks to Twitter followers @Austin5Fe and @trilldauterive for alerting us to this story.

Update (6/5/20): Mon Ami Gabi at Paris has also instituted this optional charge. Mon Ami Gabi has the same owner as Joe’s, Lettuce Entertain You. Another Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, El Segundo Sol at Fashion Show mall, has also started the charge.

Mon Ami Gabi: So good, it’s hard to hate.

Update (6/12/20): Joe’s and Mon Ami Gabi have dropped their surcharge. You’re welcome.

Twin Peaks Goes Bust, Closes Permanently on Las Vegas Strip

Color us devastated. One of our favorite Las Vegas “breastaurants” on the Las Vegas Strip, Twin Peaks, has closed permanently.

Twin Peaks was best known for its ice-cold beer, rock climbing wall and chicken strips.

Just kidding.

Twin Peaks Vegas closed

We also liked the chicken strips a lot. Seriously.

The parent company of Twin Peaks wasted no time erasing the Las Vegas location from its Web site.

Twin Peaks closed


Word is the other Twin Peaks location in Las Vegas (Henderson, technically), at 9510 S. Eastern Ave., will be back. So, there’s that.

To see more about what restaurant we’re even talking about, fondle our girthy archives.

Twin Peaks, a thinly-disguised Hooters knock-off, was one the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America, circa 2014.

Beyond challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis, Twin Peaks may have suffered from being in a city where scantily-clad women aren’t exactly scarce.

During our visits, the Harmon Corner location did good but not great business.

Twin Peaks will truly be missed on The Strip, and our hearts go out to all the toothsome young women who will now have to seek other employment. It’s Vegas, so we get the feeling they’ll be just fine.