Perhaps the Rio isn't big enough to house two larger-than-life celebrity chef personalities. Following the announcement Guy Fieri is riding his El Burro Borracho Mexican restaurant from Laughlin into the resort in early 2016 comes the revelation that Steve Martorano has quietly closed his mezzanine-level Italian-American restaurant.
The Philly-born chef, or as he prefers, cook, launched Café Martorano at the resort in March 2007, luring a celebrity clientele from his original Fort Lauderdale, Fla., base. Famed for his "Sunday gravy" and meatballs, both can now be found on the Strip at his Paris Las Vegas location, which just celebrated its first anniversary. Martorano still operates three other locations in Atlantic City and Florida.
The Rio will soon have even more empty space when the Village Seafood Buffet closes by the end of the month and is merged into the Carnival World Buffet. The 13,000-square-foot concept was the only seafood-dedicated buffet in the city and had been serving thousands of pounds of crab legs daily since 1997. Like Martorano's, no replacement has been announced.
And another 1997 veteran is also due to disappear. Búzios Seafood, a favorite of guests heading to the nearby Penn & Teller Theater, will shutter to make way for Fieri's El Burro Borracho. No official closing date has been announced and reservations are currently being accepted well into 2016.