It’s grand-opening night at a burger joint. DJ Island Rok is blasting beats out back, taking turns with taiko drummers and lion dancers. At around 9 p.m. on this brisk Thursday evening, one of the lions makes his way through the jam-packed restaurant, fulfilling some version of a good-luck choi ching ceremony, complete with flying cabbage. All of this might not seem quintessentially Vegas, but it is.
Even the burger guy’s dad was there, saying hi to everybody. The celebration of the new Fukuburger, on Jones just north of Spring Mountain, was a full-circle experience, as founder Colin Fukunaga—proud father in tow—started this thing almost six years ago with a food truck frequently planted in Chinatown. Late-night Fuku runs to Spring Mountain Road—pretty convenient if you just finished up at a Wynn/Encore nightclub—helped evolve Chinatown into a hip afterhours destination. Now, the brick-and-mortar Fukuburger joins many nearby eating and drinking (and karaoke) spots old and new, from Pho Kim Long and Ichiza and Zizzy to Chada Thai and Golden Tiki and District One, in the ongoing enhancement of Chinatown as a local nightlife phenomenon. From the Strip to Rainbow Boulevard, it’s all here. Full circle.