Coming Out of Hibernation

Hard to believe Las Vegas was really shut down and retreated into an altered state of hibernation. Like a big bear’s awakening, the city is slowly coming alive. Daily, news is released about another hotel, restaurant, attraction, etc., reopening. Entertainment, sports, special events and conventions will be the last of the tourism components to be revived. 

Dining News

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The $10 million Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse opens at the Flamingo July 2, honoring the resort’s vintage roots, acknowledging Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and partner Meyer Lansky, who famously opened the hotel in 1946, and taking over the former Center Cut Steakhouse. The restaurant will feature a bakery façade, dry aged meat cooler, centerpiece bar and lounge, raw bar, three private dining rooms, ornate dining room, hidden speakeasy The Count Room and more. Food Network’s Vegas Chef Prizefight winner Lamar Moore is Head Chef. 

Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza is open serving dinner Thursday-Sunday along with happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. in the lounge. 

Border Grill Mandalay Bay reopens Wednesday, July 1.

Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar will hold its next Taste & Learn monthly wine-tasting dinner touring Italy Saturday, July 25. 

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro with a patio on the Strip is permanently closing after 12 years at The Palazzo.

Carnegie Deli at The Mirage and Chana Tang at the MGM Grand also closed.

At Aria, Aria Café closed, and Herringbone converted into Salt & Ivy.

Ricardo Zarate closed his Once restaurant at the Grand Canal Shoppes. 

Other COVID-19 dining closures include three PizzaRev locations, both Miller’s Ale House outlets, four Sin City Brewing Co. venues, Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant, and Served in Henderson.

Buffets in Question

All 97 salad buffet-style restaurants in the Sweet Tomatoes nationwide chain, including three outposts in Las Vegas, will permanently close.
The future of the Las Vegas buffet as a dining institution remains in question. At Caesars Palace, the resort initiated a multi-million-dollar makeover of its 600-seat Bacchanal Buffet. Corner Market Buffet at Treasure Island is closing the 12,575-square-foot space to make room for a sports book with an added bar. This change is after going through a $3.6 million renovation for the buffet less than two years ago.

The Buffet at Wynn is the first buffet on the Strip to reopen with almost 90 all-you-can-eat dishes served at the table instead of the buffet line. Diners can order from a menu with servers bringing dishes to the table and the option to reorder within a two-hour period. 

Tivoli Village Dining Changes

Hamptons and Brio Tuscan Grille have closed at Tivoli Village; however, new restaurants will be opening.

The Lounge at El Dorado will debut later this year next to El Dorado Cantina and occupy the former Hamptons’ space. The Lounge will have the same hours as the El Dorado Cantina and will share courtyard and patio space.
Las Vegas Chef James Tree and Los Angeles’ LEV Group Executive Chef Bruce Kalman are planning a new dual-pronged restaurant project opening this coming fall. The new restaurant Scuola Vecchia (“Old School”) will take over the large space which housed the Brio restaurant with a semi-covered patio facing the Tivoli fountain. 

Meanwhile Ada’s will evolve into a more casual wine bar with tapas and small plates in a comfortable social environment. Wine and food will also be available for takeaway. Trees will remain Chef/Partner of the space.

About Town

Circa Resort & Casino downtown will debut Oct. 28, 2020, ahead of the previously slated December launch. The 1.25 million-square-foot integrated casino-resort will open with its first five floors of amenities and state-of-the-art parking hub—Garage Mahal—ahead of schedule. With completion at the end of 2020, the resort’s tower will feature 777 rooms and suites starting on the eighth floor.

National Football League’s 2021 Pro Bowl will take place in Las Vegas at the Raiders’ new Allegiant Stadium home on Jan. 31, 2021, ending the fan-driven, weeklong event’s run in Orlando. 

With the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino closed to become Virgin Hotels Las Vegas by year’s end, prized authentic music memorabilia which formerly adorned the walls was transported out of Las Vegas in five 53-foot semi-trucks.

Las Vegas artist James Stanford completed his new mural covering the south wall at The Neon Museum’s newly acquired Reed Whipple building across the street. The mural, entitled “From the Land Beyond,” taken from the 1958 film The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, pays homage to early Las Vegas hotels, the Stardust and the Dunes’ Sultan from the famed resort.  

Poker News

South Point debuted a newly renovated and expanded non-smoking, 24-hour poker room with eight additional tables, bringing the room’s total to 30 with every seat including a phone charging station. 

Poker rooms are open at the Golden Nugget, Orleans, The Venetian and Sahara. The Bellagio has six-handed tables with Plexiglas dividers between players and is open 24 hours. Caesars Palace is using five-handed tables with players required to wear masks.


While showrooms aren’t yet open, Pete Vallee better known as “Big Elvis” is back performing his no-cover show at the Piano Bar at Harrah’s at 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays where he’s appeared since 2012. The Twins dueling pianos act is in the lounge at 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The outdoor Carnaval Court between Harrah’s and The Linq is also offering music.