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California Pizza Kitchen At The Park Surprises

California Pizza Kitchen at The Park surprised me in a good way last night. New outlets of chain restaurants aren’t always the most exciting restaurants to explore but I was curious about the new, exclusive menu being offered only at this location. CPK was the final restaurant at The Park (see more from the opening of The Park at Covers) that I wanted to try so I figured that I’d give it a whirl.

California Pizza Kitchen has multiple locations in Las Vegas (The Mirage, Downtown Summerlin, etc.) so there needed to be something to set this one apart. The new menu does that by offering burgers, steaks, unique appetizers like buffalo cauliflower and pizzas you can’t find at other locations.

CPKBurgerBest

We sampled different dishes and I was happy to see that there’s another moderately priced dining option at The Park. The CPK Classic Cheeseburger was only $14 and was made with Wagyu beef and has melted American cheese, Nueske’s Applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, tomato, pickles, lettuce and housemade burger sauce on a toasted brioche bun. The accompanying fingerling potatoes were crisp and tasty.

The CPK Classic Cheeseburger was easily the best thing we had from the 6 or 7 dishes we tried. I wouldn’t call this the best burger in Las Vegas but it’s very good and probably what I would order in the future.

CPK.BuffCauliflower

Everyone we spoke with at the restaurant highly recommended that we try the buffalo cauliflower. Yes, I ate cauliflower. My mom would be proud. Kinda. The veggies were masked very well.

The cauliflower was deep-fried and had an excellent buffalo sauce. I think vegetarians I know would probably love this dish. The sauce was spicy and tangy and I’d eat this all day…if it was chicken.

CPKMeatballs

The turkey meatball appetizer was more up my ally. They’re made with turkey sausage and had a nice kick to them. Note to management if there was a happy hour deal with apps and booze discounts, I would probably destroy these every time I visited The Park.

CPKRibeye

So, a steak at California Pizza Kitchen? Let’s give it a whirl.

This is exactly what you’d expect from a $40 steak on the Vegas Strip. The meat was good but it wasn’t great. If you go in with the understanding that this isn’t a high-end steakhouse steak you’ll probably enjoy it.

An additional note on the steak, the grill temperatures were probably a bit too high as the first rib eye was charred but very undercooked from the medium we ordered. The second steak was closer. I’d give them a minute to figure this out before trying again.

Overall

Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised with the dishes that are only available at The Park location of California Pizza Kitchen. The non-pizza options are tasty and better than pizza I’ve had at any of the locations.

Between  Shake Shack, Bruxie, Beerhaus and California Pizza Kitchen, The Park has a good selection of moderately priced restaurants. You can see more pics from dinner in the slideshow below.

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MGM Parking Fees Now In Effect For T-Mobile Arena Events

MGM "The Park"

MGM “The Park”

MGM Resorts paid parking information for T-Mobile Arena was just released. This is straight from an email they sent to ticketholders.

Reserved Event Parking for April 6 will be available for $10 in advance. Prices will increase the day of show. To purchase Reserved Event Parking, please click here.

Valet options will be available on event nights at New York-New York and Monte Carlo for $30.

These fees are only at the two hotels for now. Hotel guests won’t have to pay for parking at this time. Parking fees won’t begin across all MGM Resorts properties until late June (see the last sentence here).

More details below:

SUBJECT: Grand Opening of T-Mobile Arena – Parking Information

NEED PARKING? NO PROBLEM!
Reserved Event Parking is now available for all events at T-Mobile Arena. Reserved Event Parking is available on designated levels of the parking facilities at New York-New York, Monte Carlo, and the Aria Event Parking Garage. Parking in these locations is available on a first‐come, first‐served basis and subject to availability.

We encourage guests to purchase event parking in advance as Reserved Event Parking may not be available for purchase on‐site on the day of the event at these locations due to demand. Guests who do not have Reserved Event Parking may be turned away from these locations on event night.

To access Reserved Event Parking locations, please utilize Frank Sinatra Drive as your primary route.

Reserved Event Parking for April 6 will be available for $10 in advance. Prices will increase the day of show. To purchase Reserved Event Parking, please click here.

Valet options will be available on event nights at New York-New York and Monte Carlo for $30.

Link to pay in advance for parking at T-Mobile Arena.

Thanks to @Vegas724 for the info.

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The Park Beer Garden Has A Name And Some Beer

Beerhaus, The Park Beer Garden

Beerhaus

The Park Beer Garden is the last restaurant or bar to receive a name at the new complex opening later this year (You can see more info on The Park at Front Desk Tip).

The “Beer Garden” will be called Beerhaus and serve artisanal food and craft beer. Let’s be real, all that matters about this place is the beer.

At first look, Beerhaus’ initial beer listing is diverse but not entirely unique. While there are good options you can find many of these beers elsewhere in Las Vegas (See Top 10 places to drink beer on VegasTop10).

  • Draft: The selection includes lagers such as The Bruery Humulus Lager from Placentia, CA, and Joseph James’ American Light Lager. IPAs including Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin from San Diego and the rich Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout from Longmont, CO will make the draft menu an instant favorite on The Strip.
  • Bottles & Cans: Off draft, choices range from the gluten-free Green’s Dry Hopped imported from the UK and the Ayinger Celebrator from Germany, to ales such as Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan and Belgium’s Saison DuPont.

There’s nothing wrong with this selection and the location should make Beerhaus another good option for beer drinkers on the Vegas Strip.

You can read the press release below for more information:

This spring, Las Vegas visitors and locals will be introduced to Beerhaus, a remix of the American beer hall, tapping an eclectic beer program for hop heads and casual drinkers alike. Located in The Park – MGM Resorts’ new dining and entertainment district opening April 4 – the beer garden will celebrate an indie vibe and boast pours from Vegas-local breweries such as Joseph James alongside beloved domestic crafts and international all stars.

Beerhaus will be ideally situated near the 20,000 seat world-class T-Mobile Arena, playing the role of both pre- and post-event headquarters. Its location, steps from New York-New York and Monte Carlo, sets the stage for a killer outdoor patio scene at the center of all the action. Exposed brick and a roller-coaster-shed façade put revelers in the proper mindset as they transition inside to the industrial-chic setting.

No beer hall is complete without a menu of mouthwatering bites to soak up the suds. Libations will be complemented by artisanal eats that are hormone-free and regionally sourced with the bonus of hand-held ease for maximum efficiency. Bar food will include savory roasted sausages and rotisserie sandwiches with premium meats such as porchetta, beef brisket and free-range chicken. Overhead, a soundtrack reminiscent of indie records and throwback hip-hop will serve as the ideal playlist for complete beer nirvana.

Beauty in the Eye of the Beer-Holder

Whether a seasoned enthusiast or just beer-curious, there will be a rotating selection of refreshing offerings to delight the palate. Renowned Trappist ales brewed by monks stand alongside the familiar Pabst Blue Ribbon, giving all taste buds an equal opportunity at satisfaction at this new sudsy spot.

· Draft: The selection includes lagers such as The Bruery Humulus Lager from Placentia, CA, and Joseph James’ American Light Lager. IPAs including Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin from San Diego and the rich Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout from Longmont, CO will make the draft menu an instant favorite on The Strip.

· Bottles & Cans: Off draft, choices range from the gluten-free Green’s Dry Hopped imported from the UK and the Ayinger Celebrator from Germany, to ales such as Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan and Belgium’s Saison DuPont.

· Other Taps: For the vinos, Beerhaus offers tap-drawn alternatives to good ol’ grog, including a selection of unique keg wines. The spirit savvy also can get in on the draft goodness through a revolving list of refreshing selections such as small-batched Moscow Mules and Cosmopolitans on tap.

It’s All Fun and Games

Beerhaus will be in the business of brewing good times. Guests are invited to grab a cold one and make new friends over bar games such as Connect Four, which are stationed at every table. Visitors also can engage in friendly competition with beer hall classics such as foosball, shuffle board and ping pong. There’s also corn hole on the outdoor patio to showcase beer-enhanced skills day and night.

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Sake Rok In, Monte Carlo Sportsbook Out

Monte Carlo Sportsbook

Monte Carlo Sportsbook

On July 8, I posted the rumor that the Monte Carlo sportsbook would be moving to a new location as MGM Resorts continued construction of  park project.

Yesterday Eater Vegas found some renderings of a new restaurant called Sake Rok that gave a little more insight to the Monte Carlo sportsbook moving.

Before the announcement of the Monte Carlo building a $100 million, 5,300 seat, theater and concert hall, Sake Rok was positioned to be built as an addition to the southern side of the resort, taking over space at the rear of their sports book. The renderings also indicate an outdoor dining area was scheduled to The Park, minus the theatrical presentations inside. An official location for the sushi restaurant has yet to be announced.

Sake Rok Las Vegas

Sake Rok – Rendering RAYDE

Sake Rok is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016 but specific details like time and date of Sake Rok construction and sportsbook closure have not been released by MGM Resorts. You can see more renderings of Sake Rok at Ray Design Environments.

A plan for the new sportsbook at Monte Carlo has not been revealed yet. This Covers article about the “Evolution of Sportsbooks” will give you some insight how MGM Resorts has approached their recent sportsbook renovations.

History tells us that MGM Resorts will have a new Monte Carlo sportsbook ready in time for the first weekend of March Madness.

You may remember that The Mirage sportsbook renovations were finished just before March Madness in 2013. Moving the Monte Carlo sportsbook to become a part of The Pub seems more realistic by the day. I’ll share details on that as soon as they’re revealed.

Monte Carlo Sportsbook: Vegas Photo Blog
Sake Rok rendering: RAYDE

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Rumors: Cosmopolitan And Monte Carlo Sportsbook Moving

Monte Carlo Sportsbook

Monte Carlo Sportsbook

Rumors are all over the place with Monte Carlo heading deep into construction of The Park. This park-like area will be located between Monte Carlo and New York-New York leading to the new arena that’s scheduled to open next year.

Monte Carlo has undergone some major changes with its Vegas Strip frontage and now they’re moving to the side leading to the arena. Similarly (but not the same) the Cosmo is renovating its casino floor. Here’s the juice I’m hearing:

Monte Carlo Rumors

Vegas Eater says that the Blue Man Group Theater will be closing and becoming a larger theater to be used as a concert hall. Now comes rumor (on the Five Hundy By Midnight Podcast) that the Monte Carlo sportsbook will be closing and moving into The Pub. This would make The Pub more of a sports lounge and closer to what you see at Bellagio and The Mirage.

If this rumor is true it wouldn’t be surprising to see the poker room also close and move. The sportsbook and poker room occupy the same side of the casino so it might make sense to see both shuttered to make way for the planned restaurants and bars.

Possibility: Both make sense and sound logical.

Cosmopolitan Rumors

Last month I wrote about the rumor that Cosmopolitan may be getting a poker room on Vegas Chatter. That still hasn’t come to fruition but there’s another rumor about their tiny CG Technology sportsbook.

Word is that the sportsbook will be moving from the second floor to the first floor with the other casino gaming. I reached out to a CG Technology rep on twitter and didn’t receive a response like I have every other question I’ve asked.

Possibility: Not sure the majority of customers would care about either. I could make a case for both but I can also see bean counters not caring about such a small piece of gaming revenue (about 2%-3% total).

Closing

Rumors are a hit and miss proposition. Sometimes they’re true and sometimes they’re not. The success rate I’ve had with rumors that make sense is about 50%. If that holds true here then we should see two of the rumors mentioned above come true. Time will tell as construction is progressing at Monte Carlo and Cosmo is quietly making changes to their property.

 

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MGM Resorts Expands Plans For The Park

MGM "The Park"

MGM “The Park”

If you’ve been to the Vegas Strip over the past year you probably noticed the construction at New York New York and Monte Carlo. The overall vision is to update each hotel and create a park-like environment in between the two which leads to an arena that will be built behind the two. MGM Resorts, which owns both properties has updated the plans for The Park (below). Highlight: there is outdoor drinking for every palate (wine, rum, beer, coffee)

The concept is very similar to The Linq without the cheap airport kiosk type shops selling sunglasses and hats. When complete this should be a really nice addition to the Vegas Strip and just like The Linq it’s a great use of what used to be dead space.

Details, pictures and video below.

Press release highlights:

A Glimpse into The Park:

Experience: The Park re-envisions the traditional pedestrian experience in Las Vegas. It will draw passersby from the hustle and bustle of The Strip into an oasis offering unique opportunities to experience Las Vegas outdoors and at one’s leisure, only steps from one of the largest urban boulevards in the world. Inspired by the iconic plazas, promenades and squares that have served as important public gathering destinations within the world’s great cities throughout history, The Park will offer an array of common spaces for socializing, relaxing, exploring and sampling the surrounding tastes, sights and sounds.

By day, visitors will be able to bask in pockets of sun or enjoy shade beneath mature trees or one of the stunning, tulip-like shade structures towering more than 50 feet above. Patio-style seating will encourage an interactive social environment, while seating alcoves tucked into large planters will provide areas for respite.

Unique water features, including water walls stretching more than 100 feet in length along the entrance will add unexpected visuals, as will dramatic plantings incorporating a variety of beautiful desert blooms. Exploring The Park, guests will encounter spontaneous live entertainers, such as acoustic guitarists and street performers.

As the sun sets, illuminated elements of The Park’s landscaping will create a dramatic setting. The shade structures, a work of art in and of themselves, will emit marvelous LED sequences from high above, captivating guests below. Sounds of live music, clinking glasses and laughter from bordering open-air venues will saturate The Park with energy, giving guests an entirely new way to experience Las Vegas beneath the stars.

Dining Under the Sun and Stars: Not unlike the small cafes and bistros that spill onto iconic promenades, clusters of casual restaurants and bars with outdoor seating will open each resort to The Park creating a colorful patio ambiance. Ranging from fast-casual to mid-level, each offering will be a unique-to-market, up-and-coming brand. Below is a first peek, with additional partners to be announced in the coming months:

· Shake Shack – Boasting patios overlooking The Park and New York-New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, the much-beloved Shake Shack will introduce its first West Coast location when it opens in December 2014. Established in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, Shake Shack® is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its all-natural burgers, flat-top dogs, frozen custard, beer, wine and more. With its fresh, simple, high-quality food at a great value, Shake Shack is a fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal.

· Bruxie – The fast-casual, gourmet waffle restaurant born out of Orange County will serve up its signature takes on The Sandwich. Bruxie’s next-generation sandwiches use a light, airy authentic Brussels Waffle as the “Bold Fold”. The Waffle is crisp, lightly yeasty and not sweet – reminiscent of freshly baked bread. Bruxie Waffles are paired with quality seasonal ingredients, offering both savory choices like Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Chili Honey and Cider Slaw as well as a variety of sweet options such as Strawberry Crème Brûlée.

· Sake Rok – This theatrical hotspot open for lunch, dinner and a late-night bar/lounge, will thrill guests with more than just its array of delicious sushi, Japanese cuisine and private sake label. By night, Sake Rok will transform into a high-profile social dining extravaganza, immersing guests in an experience part culinary, part performance and completely unexpected. Inspired by Japan’s vibrant pop culture and fashion movements, interactive servers will invite guests to partake in restaurant-wide sake bombs while doubling as entertainers, spontaneously breaking into dance and lip-sync serenades. The emcee – a six-foot man dressed in traditional Geisha attire – will keep the energy and the sake flowing late into the night as Sake Rok transitions into a chic bar and lounge.

· Beer Garden – This fun and approachable beer garden will be highlighted by its outdoor spaces and vantage points of all The Park’s activity. Guests will be able to indulge in sustainably raised farm-to-table meats, an impressive craft beer list, live music and, of course, games to get any social gathering started – bocce ball, darts and outdoor ping pong. Central to the design will be the restaurant’s signature open roasting area.

· A Robert Mondavi Jr. Wine Experience – Robert Mondavi Jr.’s restaurant, lounge and wine bar concept will transport guests to Napa Valley, infusing each element of the experience with the signature warmth and inviting essence of the famous sun-soaked rolling vineyards where Mondavi Family wine production originated. Anchored by an extensive wine program, the venue will boast 100+ wines by the glass and a variety of formats including flights, quartinos, carafes, large formats and more, accompanied by gourmet wine country cuisine. Inside, guests will savor the sights and sounds from the partially open-format kitchen, while an open-air patio will evoke the feeling of a festive outdoor dinner party.

· Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row – Country star Dierks Bentley will introduce his contemporary country bar and restaurant concept offering American gastropub fare, plenty of brews on tap, a specialty menu of “Boilermakers” – a shot of whiskey (from a menu featuring more than 40 options) dropped into a glass of beer – and live music by night. The cuisine will feature organic meats, locally farmed produce and a dessert menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.

· Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar – Two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Guillermo Pernot will heat up Las Vegas with his East Coast sensation Cuba Libre and its Havana-style restaurant, bar and high-energy Latin night spot. The restaurant’s atmosphere will offer a unique combination of Latin flavor, warmth and splendor. Specializing in rum, Cuba Libre will offer more than 100 premium and flavored varieties and specialty cocktails crafted from the freshest ingredients.

Design: The design for The Park is a collaborative effort led by MGM Resorts International with master planner Cooper, Robertson & Partners, leading landscape architecture and urban design firm !melk, and Marnell Architecture. Envisioned as the connective tissue between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, The Park’s unique design elements include:

· Natural landscaping: Landscape design will utilize native and desert-adaptive species of plants, which are able to thrive in hot and dry environments with minimal water. Large planters with inset seating will feature dramatic plant life displays created by the juxtaposition of cloud-like plants (santolina, apache plum, mormon fir, etc.) alongside vibrant shoots (red yucca, torch lily, desert bear grass, etc.), lush grasses (Mexican feather grass, fountain grass, orange sedge, etc.) and spikes (blue agave, golf tooth aloe, horsetail, etc.)

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The Vegas Strip Of The Future Will Feel More Like A Strip Mall

Las Vegas Is Becoming A Strip Mall

Strip Mall!

I grew up in the Bronx, NY. We didn’t have malls. We had stores on streets and even had a few shopping centers. I had to drive 20-30 minutes to the nearest mall. It was like a whole other world. I wouldn’t say it was awesome but it was different and that was cool. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I knew what a strip mall was.

Strip malls weren’t cool then, have never been cool and aren’t cool now. That doesn’t matter in Las Vegas. Vegas is the greatest place on earth but it’s never really been “cool”. That’s okay. Caesars Entertainment has been developing The Linq over the past year and that should be finished by the end of the year. Call it what you want but The Linq is essentially a glorified strip mall set between casinos.

Caesars Entertainment is also developing the Bally’s Grand Bazaar (details here and here) a little bit south on the strip from The Linq. Now Vegas Tripping is reporting that MGM Resorts will be creating The Park even further south on the Vegas strip in the area around Monte Carlo and New York New York.

We can confirm that the park will occupy Rue de Monte Carlo, including the CityCenter sales office and the entire parking lot behind and between New York New York and Monte Carlo.

Further, Vegas Tripping has details on the strip renovations planned for Monte Carlo. While The Linq will have a ferris wheel as the anchor of the shopping area The Park will have a brand spanking new arena that MGM Resorts is building in conjunction with AEG. A little north of Monte Carlo you’ll find Crystals mall next to Aria at the area formerly known as CityCenter.

My graphic skills are pretty bad but the future Vegas strip will look something like this:

Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino > Shopping > Casino  

It sure seems like Vegas is remaking itself more towards being a family destination then it has since they started theming hotels in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Great…more kids. I’m not the typical Vegas customer but that’s not what I want from Vegas.

Photo: Warren Temple Smith

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas