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The Whacky Graffiti Art Behind Rattlecan

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Sammy DeMarco and designer Antonio Ballatore at the new Rattlecan.
Sammy DeMarco and designer Antonio Ballatore at the new Rattlecan.
[Photos: Chelsea McManus]

Eater%20Fall%20Tracking_200%208-15-12.jpgBoy, oh boy, does the new Rattlecan from chef to the chefs Sammy DeMarco look like it will be a game changer at the Venetian. Already '80s music is piped in the sound system at the resort with the anticipated Rock of Ages coming later this fall. And now DeMarco adds to that vibe with a burger bar decked out in graffiti.

His much-anticipated Rattlecan, named for the spray paint cans graffiti artists use, plans to open Oct. 15, just after DeMarco returns from Perth, Australia, where he opens his second Merrywell on Sept. 15. It takes over the long-dormant Lutece space at the resort. The $1.5 million renovation is taking up 7,375 square feet.

Antonio Ballatore, the winner of season 4 of HGTV's Design Star and The Antonio Treatment, is behind the look and feel of this joint wrapped in the hottest graffiti artists on the street. Look to the left and it's a piece by Krink. Over there, Lady Aiko out of Japan has a wall. The medley, just starting to come together, gives the room a candy store appeal with something decadent for the eyes at every turn.

DeMarco and Ballatore met years ago when Sammy had his original First in the East Village in New York City, where he earned the title chef to the chefs for his late-night spot. "What he is to design, I am to food," DeMarco says.

"We tried to get different street artists on different levels, painting, wheat pasting, graffiti, different styles and I've got the best in the country and the world right now," Ballatore says. "Putting them all in the same room at the same time was pretty difficult."

The restaurant will have entrances near the Venetian Sports Book and from Las Vegas Boulevard. "This represents the whole 50 yard line for the hotel really coming alive. We've been at First for three years waiting for this to come and happen. There's been a lot of commitment from the hotel in developing this area," says DeMarco, whose First Food & Bar sits upstairs at the Palazzo.

The front will have etched glass with the artwork from the graffiti artists within represented and a door painted with Krank's signature work.

When complete, Rattlecan will feature a cement-top bar stamped with the tags of the artists and decked out in kegs cut in half with the taps coming out. The table tops are all laser cut with QR codes that that, when scanned, contain DeMarco's and the artist's history. "The whole bar will be interactive. You can come here a million times and find something new," Ballatore says.

But Rattlecan also has a secret weapon up its sleeve, a mechanical pickle that will sit in front of the restaurant near the Sport Book. "You do a round of pickle shots, you get a free token," Ballatore says. "You get to ride the pickle. I predict it's the next Mount Rushmore. There's going to be a line to get on this pickle."

In the back, Rattlecan will have a game room with vintage video games. "We get inspired by each other," Ballatore says. "This is a team to be reckoned with from here on out."

"It's like Sonny and Cher," DeMarco says. "I got you, you go me, it'll be OK. I'm going with Sonny."
· All Coverage of Rattlecan [~ELV~]

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