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After the first few weeks of operation of the Southern California company's newest location inside Red Rock Resort, Platt hasn't changed his opinion.
He said the restaurant was on pace for $14 million in annual revenues, a clip he attributes to the familiarity of the popular brand, known for its massive selection of beers on tap, casual-to-upscale menu and eclectic atmosphere.
"I thought this location, when we laid it out, perfectly fit our demographic," Platt said of the nearly 13,000-square-foot space that replaced The Salt Lick Bar B-Que. "We like being in a mixed-use project. Here, we have an outdoor patio and outside entrance, but you also have the movie theaters, the bowling center and the casino from which to draw customers from."
The first Yard House in Las Vegas opened in 2008 at Town Square on the south end of the Strip and does not have a casino. Red Rock's opening, Platt said, didn't hurt business at the first store.
The 14-year-old company has 27 locations, primarily in Southern California, and in nine states including Nevada. Platt said 11 more Yard House restaurants are under development including a location in Miami that will connect with a shopping mall and casino project at the Gulfstream Park Racetrack that opens in September.
Platt had his eye on Red Rock long before the hotel-casino opened in April 2006. He originally secured a restaurant site across Charleston Boulevard, but changed his mind. He talked with Station Casinos executives about going into Red Rock, but Yard House operated its own restaurants and wasn't interested in providing a franchise.
"We realized we wanted to be at Red Rock, because it fit what we look for in a location," Platt said. "We were willing to wait, but we were not even sure if it would ever happen."
Platt said he renewed contact with Station Casinos management once it became known the deal with Salt Lick was ending. The space underwent nine months of remodeling to create the indoor-outdoor facility.
Station Casinos Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley said Yard House, in just a short time, has brought a new, more entertainmentcentric customer base to Red Rock. One reason the casino operator sought independent restaurant operators, such as Bagel Cafe and LBS, was to bring new customers to the resort.
"We know some restaurants don't have a long shelf life," Kelley said. "Consumers change and we always want to add something new and exciting."
Kelly said Red Rock is exploring ideas for the 7,000-square-foot space vacated in January by the Cherry nightclub.
"We're looking at bringing in something that is more compatible with our guests and the folks in Summerlin," Kelley said.
Red Rock's Yard House has 130 taps of beer and a glass-enclosed keg room near the entrance houses up to 5,000 gallons of beer. The kegs are connected to the central bar by nearly five miles of individual beer lines enclosed in overhead stainless steel conduits.
The restaurants are also known for a music library of more than 5,000 classic rock 'n' roll titles. Platt said he selects the daily play list used at the different Yard Houses.
Platt said the Red Rock location is about average size for a Yard House restaurant. The company's largest location is 20,000 square feet in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
With the Miami racetrack location proceeding, Platt said he is still considering other casino partnerships. He said the idea of opening a Yard House on the Strip is intriguing, but, like the locations at Town Square and Red Rock, the restaurant would need to have the right fit and demographic.
"We would really only do something with a big gaming company," Platt said. "I like the idea of going after the tourist market. That's the only big play left for us."
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