Pizza Lotto, a perfectly good pizza joint at El Cortez casino in downtown Las Vegas, is closing.
Another pizza restaurant, Naked City Pizza, is taking its place.
While we haven’t tried Naked City Pizza, 1) it’s pizza and 2) “Naked.” What’s not to like?
When it opened, Pizza Lotto promised it would have lottery-inspired scratch-off cards with discounts, but it never delivered. (We’ll wait.)
Reports are Naked City Pizza will open at El Cortez after the new year.
Naked City Pizza seems to have lots of die-hard fans, but it’ll be up against a couple of pizza joints that aren’t just good, they’re great. Specifically, Pizza Rock at Downtown Grand and Evel Pie on Fremont East.
To its credit, Naked City Pizza was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” We are not entirely sure which category it fell under.
As we tend to eat pizza at least three times a week, we can’t wait to give Naked City Pizza a try.
If you stick to The Strip and downtown when you visit Las Vegas, you won’t care too much about this news. Keep reading, anyway. You’re probably at work, and it’s a way of sticking it to The Man.
Clique Hospitality’s Salute Trattoria Italiana at Red Rock Resort is set to close by the end of 2017, as foretold in a story back in June 2017.
“Salute” is a way of saying “cheers” in Italian. An alternative is “cin cin,” which means “to your health.”
Red Rock Resorts is rumored to be phasing out five under-performing Clique restaurants, although the company has denied it’s doing so.
The company’s partnership with Clique isn’t ending, as Clique will operate new venues (unrelated to food) at Palms resort as part of its $485 million overhaul.
In an awkward turn of events, we’ve learned Salute is likely to be replaced with another Italian restaurant.
A source says the new restaurant will be operated by LDV Hospitality, the folks behind Scarpetta, the Italian eatery at Cosmopolitan.
While our experience at Scarpetta wasn’t particularly memorable, we have high hopes for the new offering at Red Rock Resort, about 20 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip.
Since we’re learning foreign languages, try this: “Ute” is Swedish for “out,” as in “Salute is out at Red Rock Resort.” That’s really how the sign looked during our recent visit.
LDV Hospitality has a solid track record with bars and restaurants.
It remains to be seen whether Red Rock Resorts will continue to purge its remaining Clique Hospitality restaurants.
Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan is by all accounts a hit, but Clique’s track record with food offerings is sketchy at best. Our meal at Clique’s The Still at Mirage was one of the worst we’ve ever had, although we hear management has changed since our visit, so the current menu may actually be survivable.
While a restaurant closing can be disruptive to employees, as one eatery closes, another tends to open, so we look forward to seeing what Italian temptations will soon make their way to Red Rock Resort.
Barry Manilow, a singer and songwriter with more hits than a defective Top Dollar slot machine, could be headed back to Las Vegas for a residency, this time at Westgate.
A tipster says Manilow could begin his next run in Las Vegas in April 2018.
Hey, he earned that money, he can spend it any way he wants.
Barry Manilow’s last residency in Vegas was a two-year stint at Paris. That’s where we saw his show, and it was great, with one sing-along favorite after another.
Should Manilow return to Westgate as rumored, it would be familiar territory for the 74-year-old pop music legend. He performed there from 2005-2010, back when the resort was the Las Vegas Hilton.
It’s likely Manilow struck a sweet financial deal with Westgate, but a residency’s a win-win. While Manilow’s deep catalogue of hits has multi-generational appeal, he tends to draw audiences who are the perfect demographic for a casino―a more mature customer with ample disposable income.
Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Barry Manilow at some kind of thing back in 2010. We are a better photographer than we are a rememberer.
While there’s been no official announcement of the deal with Westgate, Manilow’s team and Westgate executives have left lots of clues about the residency. Manilow’s husband and manager, Garry Kief, hasn’t been shy about sharing Las Vegas visits in social media, and Westgate reps were spotted at a Manilow show in California in August.
Barry Manilow is a great fit for Las Vegas and Westgate, and the city should welcome him back with open arms.
Manilow has a reputation for being a genuinely nice person, unaffected by fame and decades on the charts.
The owners of Palms, Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos), is going all-in on the resort with a planned $485 million investment in a metric hell-ton of renovations and from-scratch offerings.
The sheer amount of newness is dizzying, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of changes at the Palms for your convenience. By “comprehensive,” of course, we mean “as comprehensive a list as we can muster while hammered.”
Love the Palms marquee? Spoiler: Don’t get attached.
Palms is partnering with Tao Group in a big way. For starters, Tao will operate a 29,000-square-foot nightclub in the former Rain space.
2. Dayclub Pool
Dayclubs are like nightclubs, but with more sunscreen. The dayclub at Palms, also operated by Tao Group, will be 70,000-square-feet and accommodate 5,000 people, most of whom will be sucking in their gut. The new dayclub will presumably be open year-round.
Palms is bringing in another partner, Clique Hospitality, to operate a lounge. Think Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan. Yes, that’s the lounge where O.J. Simpson behaved so badly he was banned from the Cosmopolitan for life. Let’s hope Palms upholds the policy.
Alize closes at the end of 2017, too. Hint: You’re probably pronouncing it wrong.
4. Bobby Flay Restaurant
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will slap his name on a seafood and raw fish restaurant at Palms. His Bobby’s Burger Palace on The Strip is meh, but Mesa Grill has done well for Caesars Palace, and Flay knows his way around a chermoula, whatever that might be.
5. Mark Vetri Restaurant
Mark Vetri is apparently a legend in Philadelphia, and he’ll bring an Italian restaurant to Palms. When it comes to cuisines, there’s Italian and everything else, so we’re really looking forward to this one.
6. Michael Symon Restaurant
Yes, we broke this story weeks before anyone else, but we’re not about gloating, we’re about newness. Michael Symon is co-host of “The Chew” and will hopefully make Palms one of the few spots you can get decent BBQ in Las Vegas.
Michael Symon has a successful BBQ restaurant in Cleveland, a city very similar to Las Vegas. And if you managed to read that sentence without laughing, we’re truly impressed.
7. Vandal Restaurant
It’s another Tao Group collaboration, and this one has a record of success in New York. Vandal is known as a hotspot, despite mixed reviews about its food. Vandal’s been described as “specializing in mini-ramen, mini-burgers, mini-knishes and an assortment of ostensibly edible things that have been fried into balls.” They say that like it’s a bad thing!
8. High Limit Rooms
One of our favorite hangs at Palms is the high limit slot room, so we’re excited to hear it will be getting a revamp. There will also be a new high limit room for table games. Casinos have tried combining high limit slots and tables, but not successfully, so Palms is on the right track.
That wall is the former high limit slot room. Just trust us on this one.
9. Noodle Bar
Strolling through Palms, it’s obvious the resort has many, many Asian customers. They are coveted by casinos like Palms, and Gold Coast just across the street, so a noodle bar is sort of a required amenity.
While Palms has always had a great steakhouse, we’re sort of happy we’ll never have to type “N9NE” again. That affectation aside, we enjoyed the place, but it was a leftover from an earlier era at Palms, and it’s time for some fresh meat.
Oh, all right, one last time: N9NE.
11. Front Desk Registration Area
It’s not the most glamorous part of a Las Vegas resort, but anything’s going to be better than the temporary space where guests are currently checking in.
These are what’s known as “aspirational stanchions.” Which would also make a great band name.
12. Renovated Casino
At the moment, the casino at Palms is 80% construction wall. The entire casino is getting an overhaul, and this blog loves it some new casino smell.
Palms is doing construction walls right.
13. Center Bar
It seems like only yesterday (four years, to be exact) the Social cocktail bar at Palms made its debut. Well, it’s out with the not-that-old and in with the new because Palms is getting a new center bar.
14. Hotel Rooms
Apparently, when the Fantasy tower at Palms went up, they neglected to finish 60 of the rooms. Well, they’re finishing them now.
15. Room Renovations
Palms plans to renovate 282 rooms and luxury suites. Fun fact: If you slept in one room every day, it would take you 282 days to sleep in all of the newly renovated rooms at Palms. We are a blog, not a fun fact machine.
China House says “Zàijiàn!” Hey, we’ve traveled. (To Google Translate.)
Palms has announced it will soon get an all-new spa with 16 treatment rooms. Currently, Palms has Drift Spa and Hammam. The Hammam at Palms, a co-ed Turkish bath, was the first in Las Vegas. We like our Turkish baths just “ed,” thank you very much.
17. Pearl Theater Overhaul
In the mix of all the renovations will be a refresh of the 2,600-seat Pearl Theater. We hear that when the theater opens after its renovation, guests will receive necklaces. We’ll wait.
18. Rooftop Social Club
Ghostbar was a blast, but it’s time for a new take on this popular rooftop haunt. Clique Hospitality will operate the new social club, which is different from a nightclub in that the word “social” seems to resonate with the kids, along with “fleek,” “bomb” and “allowance.”
No, you’re not getting bigger, the Palms casino is getting smaller. It’ll pass.
If you’re spending $485 million to give your Las Vegas resort a facelift, it had better include the buffet. Bistro Buffet at Palms is getting retooled after closing in June 2017. During our visit, a guest was kvetching about receiving a direct mail piece with a buffet coupon. You’ll get your buffet soon enough, buddy, as will we all.
20. Covered Parking Spaces
Again, not glamorous, but 525 new covered parking spaces are nothing to sneeze at when summer temperatures in Las Vegas are comparable to the surface of Mercury.
21. Hotel Marquee
Hey, it’s not all good news. We love the Palms marquee. We’re hoping the new marquee keeps a lot of neon tube benders busy for years to come.
22. Porte Cochere
“Porte cochere” is a fancy way of saying “that place where you pull up to a hotel in your hooptie.” We’re only about 20% confident that word means what we think it means.
That’s about it! All the Palms renovations and new venues should debut in late 2018 or early 2019.
Our Captain Morgan-fueled list only covers what’s on the way, not what’s already happened.
For example, Palms recently opened a new cafe, the Lucky Penny.
Pennies are only considered lucky if you find them face up. Some things are non-negotiable.
The food at Lucky Penny was mixed bag, with some of the most exceptional Asian food and boozy shakes we’ve had anywhere.
Given the incredible Oreo-M-G shake (featuring Stoli vanilla vodka) at Lucky Penny, maybe you are getting bigger after all.
The veggie burger was a crushing disappointment, as was a dish called “Almost Boneless Chicken.” Really, if you’re going to do “almost boneless,” just go boneless. It’s an extra two minutes of preparation time, and well worth the effort to avoid lawsuits.
The desserts, though.
Nothing says “We need to wrap this up” like sharing a gratuitous dessert photo from Lucky Penny just to please the Pinterest gods.
A temporary dining option, Social Table, opened in the former Hooters space. Social Table goes away at the end of 2017.
The 14-screen movie theater complex at Palms is set for a massage.
We did leave planned meeting and convention space (18,000-square-feet worth) off our list, but only because it’s extraordinarily boring.
Red Rock Resorts seems confident its massive investment in Palms will pay off, calling it a “destination hybrid,” intended to appeal to both locals and tourists.
No word on whether the mushroom caps are staying or going. We predict going.
The company points to a strong economy in Las Vegas, and a growing population, as reasons the company is spending more on improvements to Palms than it cost to purchase it in the first place ($313 million).
Whether Palms can regain its former glory remains to be seen, but damn, we’ve got a lot to look forward to while we wait to find out.
High-ranking executives of Stratosphere Las Vegas have shocked industry insiders by demanding a recount in the recent “Best of Las Vegas” awards.
The Stratosphere executives have raised questions about “suspicious results” and have even gone so far as to suggest the awards are “rigged,” presumably preventing the hotel-casino from receiving innumerable awards it rightfully should have won.
The annual “Best of Las Vegas Awards” are hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and are based upon voting by the public. And possibly employees, bigtime.
Apparently, Stratosphere takes its “Best of Las Vegas Awards” very seriously.
A Stratosphere spokesperson stated, “We’re obviously grateful to have been named ‘Best Strip Hotel,’ beating out wannabes Wynn Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan and Aria. But our meager 29 additional awards are a disappointment to our company, our executives, team members and guests, and we’re looking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal to rectify this travesty.”
Among Stratosphere’s unprecedented 30 “Best of Las Vegas Awards” were “Best Romantic Spot,” “Best Wedding Chapel,” “Best Shrimp Cocktail,” “Best Burger” and dozens of other accolades.
This view from the Stratosphere is undeniably worthy of an award.
While the Stratosphere’s awards were expansive, one executive was quick to note “glaring omissions and oversights.”
“While many awards are subjective,” the executive said, “Stratosphere should clearly have won ‘Best Pet Groomer,’ ‘Best Tax Professional,’ ‘Best Waxing,’ ‘Best Senior Community’ and ‘Best Breast Augmentation.’ That’s just common sense.”
The exec continued, “And this doesn’t even begin to address the issue of award categories that should exist but, suspiciously, don’t. Where’s ‘Best Casino That’s Also a Phallic Symbol’ or ‘Best Hotel in a Crack House Neighborhood’?”
You can never have too many awards. Hey, just check our sidebar.
We inquired about the Stratosphere’s controversial allegations with the Review-Journal, but no official response was forthcoming.
An anonymous source at the Las Vegas Review-Journal did confide, “Our track record of integrity is impeccable and beyond reproach. So, slide me $50 and you’ll be ‘Best Las Vegas Blog’ in 2018. Done deal.”
Here’s a full list of all 30 “Best of Las Vegas Awards” won by Stratosphere Las Vegas, and congratulations to them for the three awards they actually deserved.*
This blog contains a mere trickle of Las Vegas news, but this week’s podcast is a gusher!
In our latest installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast, we dive with reckless abandon into the Las Vegas WTF with scoop about the just-announced Fly Linq ziplines, progress at the Las Vegas Club demolition, O.J. Simpson’s well-deserved ban at Cosmopolitan and more.
We also go deep into all the newness coming to Palms, and there’s a metric ass-ton of it.
Virtually everything’s changing at Palms, including the marquee.
We’ve also got the latest about a Las Vegas pastor who attempted to rob the M Resort three times. With a fake gun.
You won’t want to miss what we’re hearing about MGM Resorts looking to buy the Cosmo, and what’s holding up the sale of SLS Las Vegas.
We’ve got three interviews in this episode: One with a representative of the self-driving shuttle company that made worldwide news in Vegas this week (for all the wrong reasons), another with the beverage manager of The D and Golden Gate, and a third with a fascinating couple who claim to listen to this podcast. Yes, voluntarily.
They’re going to make beautiful babies together.
There’s also the usual cavalcade of news, as well as a fully-engorged discussion about the Love Store, a chain of shops in Las Vegas with stimulating contraptions galore.
It’s all that and a virtual limitless supply of “Don’t you have a million things better to do than listen to a podcast?” Enjoy.