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Chris Jones

Red Rock Resort Offers an Array of Restaurants

18 April 2006

SUMMERLIN, Nevada -- A multitude of mouths longing to pacify their palates can make dining in Summerlin an exercise in patience.

As more dining rooms and bars line the Las Vegas Valley's western rim, the expanding array of tables and entrees has failed to keep pace with the many new residents and workers hoping to eat out in the area.

And so the lines continue.

"In recent years, we've seen a lot of growth that's helped a lot ... but you still have to know which places will be busy and go to some of the less-popular ones," said Patrick Smith, a 10-year Summerlin resident who works for Rogich Communications Group.

Today's midnight debut of Station Casinos' Red Rock Resort should help offset the lengthy line dilemma.

But don't expect the turnaround to happen overnight.

"We're going to get crushed. At least, I hope we are," Michael Pergolini, Red Rock Resort's food and beverage director, said of the business he expects during the $925 million hotel-casino's first few weeks of operation.

Red Rock Resort's nine sit-down restaurants and separate food court outlets are ready to go. Workers spent Monday readying for tonight's VIP opening party, which is expected to draw about 3,000 guests beginning at 6:30 p.m.

More than 25 temporary bars were set up for the gathering to ensure visitors can easily find something to eat and drink, a critical element to opening night success, he said.

Still, Pergolini concedes it might take a few weeks before the property's 1,200 food and beverage workers settle into their normal mode.

The hype surrounding Red Rock Resort, the company's most expensive and elaborate hotel-casino yet, will undoubtedly draw curious residents and tourists during the property's first several days, Pergolini said.

Toss in the fact that spring is a historically busy period for Las Vegas, and it's easy to see why he believes business as usual won't be the usual at all, at least until June 1 rolls around and locals start to leave town for summer vacations.

"We're going to be packed in every outlet, probably more than we want to be," Pergolini said of his crew's enviable dilemma.

Like its sister Station properties, Red Rock Resort will depend largely on local customers. Its dining options range from upscale to casual, with price points reflective of varying customers wants and needs, Pergolini said.

The 600-seat Feast Buffet is expected to be a key traffic driver, Pergolini said. In addition to Chinese, Mexican and Italian dishes, it will serve all-you-can-eat sushi at no extra cost.

T-bones Chophouse & Lounge offers an upscale steakhouse experience complete with a "backyard" that faces the resort's central pool area. Likewise for Terra Rossa Italian Restaurant: The menu includes everything from wood-fired pizzas to osso bucco.

Other options include the Salt Lick Barbecue, Cabo Cantina and Tides Oyster Bar.

Existing Summerlin restaurants abound within a three-mile stretch of West Charleston Boulevard heading east from the Las Vegas Beltway.

Eateries in the neighborhood of Red Rock Resort include Agave Mexican restaurant; BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse; Claim Jumper; P.F. Chang's China Bistro; Olive Garden Italian Restaurant; Mimi's Café; and Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.

The Cheesecake Factory is just off of Charleston, while Rosemary's, a popular eatery owned by local chefs Michael and Wendy Jordan, draws patrons to its site near West Sahara Avenue and Durango Drive.

"Choices are good. That's what our industry is all about," Paul Hartgen, president of the Nevada Restaurant Association, said Monday.

"The next call could be from someone that's concerned (Red Rock Resort's opening) is going to hurt some of the other (nearby) restaurants, but this industry responds.

"The restaurants get sharper, they try different menu items and work on things so that the quality of the products improves with increased competition."

In addition to its restaurant offerings, Red Rock Resort will open with 415 hotel rooms -- another 435 are expected to open by December -- and an 87,000-square-foot casino with 3,000 slot machines, 62 gaming tables, a poker room, a race and sports book, and a bingo room with both smoking and nonsmoking seating.

Red Rock Resort also includes a 16-screen cineplex, a three-acre pool area, 94,000 square feet of meeting space, a luxury spa and the Cherry nightclub.

Red Rock Resort's 2,600 employees have spent the past six weeks training for the opening, often using friends and family members as faux customers.

Company executives said each of the hotel rooms and suites were occupied two or three times to make sure everything was operational.

A fireworks display above the hotel's tower is scheduled to take place at 9:45 p.m.