Bobby Flay’s Next Restaurant to Land at Flamingo

While it hasn’t been officially announced, word is celebrity chef Bobby Flay will bring at new dining concept to Flamingo Las Vegas.

Flay’s rumored new restaurant will take up residence in the space currently occupied by Center Cut Steakhouse.

Bobby Flay

It’s time to plan your next Flaycation. All due modesty, Bobby Flay should use that line to advertise his new restaurant.

Center Cut Steakhouse opened in March 2012. Prior to that, it was The Burger Joint.

Center Cut Steakhouse

With all the amazing steakhouses in Vegas, Cut just didn’t make the, well, you know.

Center Cut is an adequate steakhouse, but Caesars Entertainment (owner of Flamingo) no doubt sees greater opportunity in a restaurant with a recognizable name associated with it.

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill has done well at Caesars Palace for its impressive 14 years of existence.

Mesa Grill Las Vegas

Mesa Grill. The place with a logo that appears to have been vandalized.

Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace is a forgettable effort at The Shoppes at Crystals, and he also has a restaurant in the works for Palms, Shark. That venue will focus on seafood and opens March 2019.

Caesars Entertainment has had some stellar successes when it comes to celebrity chef collaborations.

Gordon Ramsay’s numerous Strip outposts, most recently Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace, are making everyone involved wealthy.

As is common with these celebrity restaurant deals, the chef gets five percent of gross sales up to $10 million in revenue, and more if the restaurant exceeds that threshold. Learn more.

Giada’s at Cromwell has been another smashing success for Caesars, and is a must-try in Las Vegas. There’s also a fast casual offering from Giada De Laurentiis at Caesars Palace, Pronto By Giada.

Giada

Any excuse to share a Giada photo will do.

Caesars has also partnered with Guy Fieri for restaurants at the Linq and Rio. Both Vegas Kitchen & Bar at Linq and El Burro Borracho at Rio are far better than you might suspect.

Guy Fieri dessert

Any excuse to share a photo of this Guy Fieri dessert will do.

The only constant in Las Vegas is change, and possibly regret, but mostly that first thing. So, we welcome a change-up in Flamingo fare.

Expect official word of a Bobby Flay joint at Flamingo soon, and remember you heard about it here first. As if we’d let you forget you heard about it here first.

Demolition Sets Stage for New Downtown Grand Tower

It’s taken awhile, but there’s finally some construction activity at Downtown Grand in preparation for a new hotel tower.

Technically, it’s deconstruction, but let’s not get bogged down in details. Things are happening!

Downtown Grand construction

We can’t find a “before” photo, but trust us, it didn’t look like this before.

Downtown Grand’s porte cochere structure is being demolished, with plans to erect a hotel tower with 495 rooms.

The new hotel tower will sit at the corner of Ogden Ave. and 4th Street, just across from Gold Spike, a place we used to visit until they took out all the slot machines.

Here’s a rendering of the new hotel tower, because renderings are life.

Downtown Grand tower

The new tower will have three presidential suites, as if one president weren’t already far too many.

While Downtown Grand has struggled to become profitable since it opened in 2013—it’s rumored the resort loses about $4 million a year—the resort’s hotel is a strong revenue driver, so it makes sense the owners (CIM Group) would try and exploit that asset.

The demand for accommodations downtown exceeds capacity. Downtown accounts for only about five percent of the rooms in Las Vegas, despite an estimated 24 million-ish people visiting downtown each year.

Downtown Grand hotel tower

Sorry, we can’t share this photo because a guy at the site, clearly an expert in both demolition and constitutional rights, said, “No photos.”

The new Downtown Grand hotel tower is expected to open in 2020, as is everything ever announced in the history of Las Vegas.

Some of the things expected in 2020 include Raiders stadium, the new Circa resort, the Las Vegas Convention expansion, The Drew (don’t hold your breath) and MSG Sphere.

The start of construction at Downtown Grand is a welcome relief from untold delays since the project was first announced in July 2017.

Downtown Grand

Never before have so many taken so many photos of so little.

It should be noted there were also plans for an entertainment complex at Downtown Grand, complete with a tavern, fitness center and outdoor climbing wall. The project was apparently scrapped at some point. The fact the project was to be called “The Quad” did not bode well, anyway. Long story.

Beyond Downtown Grand’s mellow casino and appealing pool deck, we’re a big fan of its restaurants, especially Triple George Grill and Pizza Rock.

It’s great to see Downtown Grand playing to its strengths, despite a tricky location. More hotel guests means more gamblers, more restaurant patrons and more hope this boutique casino resort can turn its fortunes around.

Update (1/24/10): Boom, gone.

Downtown Grand demolition

Downtown Grand seems to have a handle on demolition, now let’s see how it does at building.

Tracking the About-Face of SLS Las Vegas

The overhaul of SLS Las Vegas is underway.

Despite the fact we were summarily given the boot for taking photos during our last visit, we’re determined to keep you apprised of developments, so here’s the latest.

Summarily, it should be noted, is the worst kind of boot to be given. By far.

Grand Sahara Las Vegas

SLS is in a state of flux. We just hope they know what the flux they’re doing.

The new owner of SLS, Alex Meruelo, has said he’ll invest $100 million in “revitalizing” the former Sahara. That’s a whimsical number, but there’s no question a dramatic facelift is taking place in the resort’s casino.

There’s been a dramatic shift in the look and feel of the perennially under-patroned casino, including new carpeting and a rethinking of the dark, unfinished industrial ceiling of SLS.

Grand Sahara SLS

They’re apparently going for the classic portobello mushroom look.

The interior design of SLS was distinctive, but SLS was an unmitigated financial flop, having never made a profit since the day it opened.

Was the decor a contributing factor? Hard to say.

Alex Meruelo and his team clearly believe so, hence their decision to try a more traditional vibe.

SLS Grand Sahara Las Vegas

Nothing new or edgy here, but SLS was new and edgy, and we know how that went.

While changes in the SLS casino are most visible, Meruelo has been chipping away at the resort’s challenges behind-the-scenes as well.

Cost-cutting has been a big priority, with a number of departments pared down to shore up the bottom line.

SLS Grand Sahara lounge

In most casinos, chairs don’t generate nearly as much money as slot machines. This chilling area’s days may be numbered.

The restaurant line-up at SLS has also been scrutinized. Holdovers from the SBE Entertainment era of the resort, Cleo and Katsuya, are unlikely to survive the summer from what we hear.

Look for the introduction of new dining concepts, including a food hall concept, expected to be a welcome addition for value-seekers.

We’ve also heard a buffet could be in the works. SLS had a buffet on the hotel’s second floor when it opened, but it was underwhelming it didn’t last long.

SLS Grand Sahara Vegas

Low ceilings in casinos fosters intimacy. We are always on the lookout for intimacy in casinos, which is one of the reasons we have a bailbondsman.

When the time is right, SLS will presumably get a new name: Grand Sahara Resort. (Alex Murelo also owns the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.)

It remains to be seen if the changes at SLS will help turn the struggling casino around.

SLS

Anybody seeing a Park MGM influence here? Just saying.

The resort’s location continues to be an undeniable challenge, as a number of north Strip projects are on hold (Wynn West), dead on arrival (Lucky Dragon) or plodding along at a snail’s pace (The Drew, Resorts World, All Net Resort).

Little foot traffic means the casino needs to get creative with marketing. Easier said than done.

SLS Grand Sahara

Casino carpets typically have busy patterns to better conceal stains. Now you know.

A casino refresh at SLS can’t hurt. Ultimately, though, casino resort fundamentals need to be in place for a venue to succeed.

Loosen up those machines. Give loyal customers generous perks. Pour liquor from the bottle (rather than the gun). Provide value. Keep parking free. Dump the goofy statue out front. Bring back the awesome video screen that was above the casino bar. (That’s the plan, by the way.)

Oh, and let people take photos.

SLS Grand Sahara

Las Vegas casinos resemble its roadways more with each passing day.

We’re rooting for you, SLS.

Sorry, Grand Sahara.

That may take some getting used to.

Shocker: Celine Dion Could Move to Park MGM

Did the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority just drop a huge entertainment bombshell?

If it’s not a monumental gaff, it seems Celine Dion isn’t done in Las Vegas when her show at Caesars Entertainment ends on June 8, 2019. She’ll jump ship to the competition, Park MGM.

Here’s the premature post to the LVCVA’s Instagram account.

Celine Dion Park MGM

Let’s hope whoever posted this gets a raise, not a pink slip.

Note: The post on Instagram has since been deleted.

A Celine residency at Park MGM hasn’t been officially announced by Celine’s people or Park MGM, but the LVCVA might know something the rest of us don’t.

You’ll recall Britney Spears couldn’t announce her plans for Park MGM until her contract ran out at Planet Hollywood (Caesars Entertainment).

The cancellation of Spears’ residency at Park MGM leaves a gaping hole in the Park Theater schedule, and Dion’s move would send shock waves through the world of Vegas entertainment.

We were the first to share Jennifer Lopez has also been poached by Park MGM.

The pattern has been Park MGM (MGM Resorts) making lavish offers these performers can’t refuse. Britney Spears was going to make $500,000 per show, and Lady Gaga is reportedly making $1 million per show.

Celine

Define “final.”

Celine’s run at Caesars Palace has resulted in the two highest-grossing residencies in Las Vegas history, but it’s entirely possible she’s not done yet.

It’s worth noting Celine attended Lady Gaga’s premiere at Park MGM. It was thought she was merely being supportive of her fellow diva, but if Dion is making the move to Park MGM, lots of pieces of the puzzle fall neatly into place.

It’s also rumored Celine Dion is building a new house in Las Vegas. That doesn’t sound like somebody who’s hanging it up.

At this point, Celine Dion’s move to Park MGM hasn’t been officially confirmed, but if it is, remember you heard it here first.

Thanks to @Celiniacs for pointing us to this scoop.

Update (1/15/19): The LVCVA says their post was a goof. They didn’t go so far as to say Celine won’t be doing another Vegas residency, however.

We’ll take them at their word, but trust and verify (in June 2019).

“The Naked Magicians” Will Get Fully Frontal at MGM Grand

A new show is headed for MGM Grand, and it’s about as Vegas as you can get.

“The Naked Magicians,” quite simply, perform magic naked.

The only downside is they’re dudes. All due respect.

Australian magicians, and extraordinarily brave souls, Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne will perform at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club inside MGM Grand starting Feb. 13, 2019.

It’s the duo’s first Las Vegas residency, but they’ve performed in more than 200 cities.

Naked Magicians Las Vegas

If only these guys could come up with a marketing hook.

In a news release, Christopher Wayne says, “It’s kind of crazy because magic is the second-oldest profession and we couldn’t believe no one had combined the two things that everyone loves: magic and nudity.”

Define “no one,” magic boy. It’s Vegas!

Ever hear of “Showgirls of Magic”? It had a decent run at Hotel San Remo, now called Hooters.

And let’s not forget the sheer awesomeness of “Centerfolds of Magic” which ran at the Plaza for 15 minutes. (Three weeks, actually, but who’s counting?)

History lapses aside, “The Naked Magicians” has potential, and we’d see it despite our longstanding loyalty to “Puppetry of the Penis,” mainly because the cast was on our podcast.

We’re definitely looking forward to seeing “The Naked Magicians” perform the classic cups and balls.

Oh, like you didn’t know we’d make that joke.

Tickets for “The Naked Magicians” start at $55. This is a 21-or-older only show. See more at the show’s official Web site.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 92: Circa Revelations and Beyond

It’s the podcast your mother would’ve warned you about had she not been spending so much time planning your intervention!

We’ve jammed a metric hell-ton of Vegas into this episode, so flair yourself a frosty cocktail, kick back and indulge in a buffet of Sin City scoop.

The announcement of Circa Las Vegas (formerly the 18 Fremont project) grabbed all the headlines this week, and we’ve got an in-depth interview with Circa’s owner, Derek Stevens.

Stevens shares details about how Circa Resort & Casino came to be, including a jigsaw puzzle of deals that made the improbable project possible.

Circa Las Vegas

This ain’t your grandpa’s downtown.

Despite the fascinating interview with Derek Stevens, we still manage to deliver yet another disappointing installment of the podcast, complete with puerile humor and reckless speculation.

We’ve got the latest about the sale of Bonnie Springs Ranch, drama surrounding the closure of “A Mob Story” at Plaza, the next chapter in the feud between Resorts World and Wynn Resorts, Raiders owner Mark Davis’ new home (with its nine bathrooms) and more.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

Bonnie Springs Ranch was fun while it lasted, and it lasted a long, long time. The place was originally built in 1843.

Naturally, we round up the latest casino and restaurant news, including items about Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, the 60-foot sculpture coming to the pool at Palms, plus a cavalcade of updates about shows both new (“The Naked Magicians”) and making moves (“Magical Dream”).

Our “Listicle of the Week” reveals which slot machines have the lowest casino holds, giving you the illusion of control over your gambling destiny.

Listen and learn. Or probably just that first thing. You know how you are.