Shake Shack. When it debuts in Las Vegas early next year, will it be just another cheeseburger shop gobbling up tourist customers on the Strip? Or is it the missing link in the Vegas burger pantheon, a hormone-free, perfect-medium cooked, frozen custard-accompanied necessity?
We’ll have to wait until early 2014, at the earliest, to see if Vegas loves Shake Shack as much as the East Coast does. The Danny Meyer burger joint is the most exciting culinary component of MGM Resorts’ recently announced plans for developing the outdoor areas around and between the Monte Carlo and New York-New York casinos.
The project is being called “the Park” by some—sounding and looking very similar to Caesars Entertainment’s Linq development at center Strip—but MGM hasn’t given it an official name. The plan is simple: Create pedestrian-friendly restaurant and retail action along Las Vegas Boulevard and the streetscape leading back to MGM’s planned 20,000-seat arena behind New York-New York. Anchoring the experience will be the two-story Hershey’s Chocolate World, an interactive destination celebrating all things chocolate. (Think: World of Coca-Cola and M&M’s World attractions across the street.)
SBE, the company that launched Hyde Bellagio in 2011 and is currently converting the former Sahara into the SLS Las Vegas boutique hotel and casino, will add the 12,000-square-foot Double Barrel Roadhouse to the Strip-front area at Monte Carlo. The indoor-outdoor bar and restaurant is being designed as an “old world rustic bar saloon” with large portions of familiar American fare and a wide ranging drink menu available at multiple bars. Double Barrel also will feature live music and a performing wait staff.
Sambalatte will be there, too. The beloved Boca Park coffee shop was already working on a Downtown Vegas expansion when plans for this Strip location were announced. It’s always nice when a local concept achieves the ultimate exposure Las Vegas Boulevard provides; and besides, there are already three Starbucks stores next door at CityCenter.
New York-New York’s friendly Irish pub, Nine Fine Irishmen, will be expanded with patio space extending out over the Brooklyn Bridge facade. 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria comes to Vegas from Westwood Village in LA, bringing traditional pizzas made with California tomatoes and flour from Molino San Felice in Naples (but you can still build your own).
The park project will be managed by Icon Venue Group, which has helped assemble the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Consol Energy Center and AEG’s O2 Arena, so expect maximum synergy between restaurants, other entertainment venues yet to be announced and the arena, which isn’t set for completion until 2016.