In May, celebrity chef Robert Irvine rappelled 22 stories down the side of the Tropicana Las Vegas to announce the 2017 debut of his first Las Vegas restaurant. Now comes word his flashy arrival will spearhead a long-planned expansion to the resort, with dining, bars and an outdoor patio with views of the Strip.
Last year, Penn National Gaming paid $360 million for the 59-year-old casino and hotel, floundering for years under the supervision of CEO Alex Yemenidjian. His plan to revive the South Beach-inspired resort was to build an enormous 275,000-square-foot mall, stretching to Las Vegas Boulevard, brimming with dining terraces, a new food court, a retail anchor and more than two dozen other stores. As Eater Vegas first revealed, Robert Irvine was the only chef to commit to a residency.
The massive project crumbled before it could begin construction, after Yemenidjian failed to entice sufficient outside investment. But Penn Gaming decided to tweak the concept on a much more manageable and affordable scale.
To be attached to the northwest corner of the property, the two-story, plus a basement, structure will only be accessible from inside the casino, with no outside entrance. Filling 28,200 square feet, including 18,600 square feet of freshly built space, the annex will host "restaurants, bars" and on the top floor, open air dining with views of rival MGM Resorts International properties at the corner for Flamingo and the Strip.
Shifting from the Tropicana's current stark white exterior, the facade will be covered in light gray metallic panels, clear glass and porcelain accents.
Irvine will move into the new home sometime in 2017. No further timetable for the completion of the building or his restaurant has been announced. In May, the Food Network star told Eater Vegas, while he didn't have a name or specific food concept for his latest venture, he does plan to be in Las Vegas "a lot. The success of the restaurant depends on me being here."
Irvine has also committed to filming new TV productions inside the restaurant and although unwilling to divulge further details, promised "expect the unexpected. You won't be disappointed."