The most difficult part about watching your favorite chef on TV is not being able to enjoy their food at the end of the show. But today, finding celebrity chef cuisine is easier than ever—especially in Las Vegas.
There are dozens of celeb-chef owned eateries in Sin City. When it comes to dining, the gambling town has come a long way from the early 1940s when the first buffet opened at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel and you could get all you could eat for a dollar at the “Midnight Chuck Wagon Buffet.” Buffets are still popular, of course, but now offer dozens of food selections and can cost over $30 a plate.
Back in the day, major hotel-casinos featured "gourmet rooms"—just for the high rollers. But by the 1990s, everyone—not just the big spenders-- were clamoring for high-end eateries and Las Vegas hotels recruited some of the world's top chefs to run restaurants inside their gigantic properties.
Wolfang Puck was the first celebrity chef to arrive, opening Spago in 1992. He now has six restaurants in Vegas.
Today, more than 40 of the world’s top chefs and television icons—including Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Emirl Lagasse, Nobu Matsuhisha, Tom Colicchio, Guy Fieri, Giada De Laurentis and Buddy Velastro of "Cake Boss"—all have their names and faces attached to Vegas eateries.
New restaurants open nearly every month. And you don’t need deep pockets—or a lucky hand at poker—to eat out here.
Get a cupcake or cannoli at Carlo’s Bakery, Velastro's first store west of the Mississippi, in the Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian.
Grab a burger at Wahlburgers, the popular fast casual burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg, inside the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s Las Vegas. Head to Brioche by Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace for coffee and take your pick of sweet or savory French pastry or sandwich.
Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant, GIADA, is now open at The Cromwell where you can dine outside with views of the Bellagio fountains. Want to learn the Food Network stars signature cooking techniques? Watch the restaurant chefs make pasta and bread from the open kitchen.
Craving Mexican? Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho (the name means “drunken donkey”) is now open at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The spiky haired chef also has a Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at Caesar’s Palace.
Here's a sampling of what else is new—and coming soon-- to Vegas this fall:
--Masaharu Morimoto, renowned Japanese chef and star of Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” will open Morimoto Las Vegas at MGM Grand with signature sushi creations, cocktails and exclusive dishes that will only be available at the Las Vegas restaurant.
--The first Las Vegas Momofuku location of chef David Chang’s innovative restaurant is set to open late 2016 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
--Alain Ducasse’s new restaurant RIVEA at The Delano features dishes influenced by the food markets of Provence and Italy. The eatery has 180-degree views of the city.
--Chef Julian Serrano’s new restaurant Lago at Bellagio is the first Italian restaurant from the award winning Spanish chef whose namesake Serrano Spanish tapas eatery at ARIA Resort & Casino and French-inspired fine dining room Picasso at Bellagio already receive rave reviews.
--James Beard award-winning chef Michael Mina pays homage to the café culture of Paris with BARDOT Brasserie at RIO Resort & Casino. Try the roasted bone marrow with bacon marmalade, or chow down on French classics like onion soup or steak frites.
Eileen Ogintz is the creator of the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids. She is also the author of the ten-book Kid’s Guide series to major American cities and the Great Smoky Mountains. The third-edition of the Kid’s Guide to NYC has just been released.