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Jeffrey Bank Chats About the First Year of Virgil’s Real Barbecue

The barbecue restaurant at the Linq Promenade brings The Pig Out and Bull Rider bloody Mary

Jeffrey Bank
Jeffrey Bank
Alicart Restaurant Group

Welcome to One Year In, a feature in which Eater Vegas talks with the chefs and owners of restaurants celebrating their first anniversary.

Virgil’s Real Barbecue does everything bigger, from the massive restaurant with space for 300 diners inside the 14,000-square-foot restaurant at the Linq Promenade, the three patios, trio of private dining rooms and massive dishes representing the best of Southern barbecue. That menu includes Memphis pork ribs and chicken, Carolina pulled pork and Texas beef brisket. Here, Jeffrey Bank, the CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group, the parent company of Virgil’s and Carmine’s at the Forum Shops at Caesars, looks back at the first year Virgil’s in Las Vegas.

How did Virgil’s finally come together in Las Vegas?

A lot of hard work along with a $6 million investment can solve almost any problem.

What made you decide to open at The Linq Promenade?

Location, location, location. Caesars Entertainment had just built The Linq Promenade and changed the Vegas skyline with the world’s tallest observation wheel, the iconic High Roller. It is the hottest spot on the Vegas Strip. Just ask the owners of In-N-Out, who just opened across from Virgil’s BBQ.

With such an enormous empire of restaurants, how do you make each one unique? Or do you want diners to find the same experience at each one?

Our food quality from our scratch kitchen is consistent with all of our locations but in each destination, as in Vegas, we build on and add to the experimental fun factor. Virgil’s Vegas showcases popular live music daily with no cover required. The vibe is always alive and buzzing with endless excitement that enhances our great barbecue experience to another level.

The Loaded Big Bloody Bull Rider 
The Loaded Big Bloody Bull Rider
Virgil’s [Official Site]

Do you experiment with a dish in one location and then introduce it to other locations?

Some of our very popular dishes in New York City we have introduced in Vegas and they have immediately become crowd pleasers. For example, our totally loaded Trainwreck Fries have proven to be one of our most popular starters in Vegas just as they are in New York City. At Virgil’s Vegas we created the Bloody Mary Bull Rider, a mega drink that won the Best Bloody Mary In Vegas Award. Since then we have rolled it out in New York City with rave reviews.

What have you learned in the first year of running Virgil’s in Las Vegas?

Vegas locals have been known to shy away from the Strip because of costly dining options. Virgil’s Real BBQ welcomes the locals by always offering them 20 percent off their checks. With few authentic barbecue options in Vegas this has proven to be something that locals really appreciate and continue to return again and again.

Virgil’s Real Barbecue
Virgil’s Real Barbecue
Amelinda B Lee

What were you thinking about in terms of design of the restaurant?

We have created an authentic Southern barbecue setting within a warm and fun atmosphere.

What was the menu testing process like? Are you offering different dishes in Las Vegas then say New York City?

Virgil’s menus in Vegas, New York City and Atlantis in the Bahamas are all consistent. The menu was established after a nationwide road trip in search of the best barbecue ever offered. Our recipes from Memphis pork ribs and chicken, Texas beef brisket to Carolina pulled pork are the best. When opening our Vegas location we installed two custom made smokers weighing over a ton each. For weeks, before serving to the public, we spent a significant amount of time tasting meats until we got the flavors perfect.

Has Vegas embraced the restaurant?

It has been a very exciting year for us, especially with the popularity we have gained from the Vegas locals who have expressed their appreciation for an authentic barbecue restaurant. Our 20 percent off locals program along with the convenient parking at the Linq Promenade makes this a great place for them.

Six months in, what changed?

Since our opening in December 2016, we have added a second floor patio entrance along with food service to the Linq pool area. Also, Virgil’s has become the popular event spot for private parties, catering and take out service. These features of our business continue to grow and grow in popularity.

The Pig Out at Virgil’s Real Barbecue
The Pig Out at Virgil’s Real Barbecue
Caesars Entertainment

What's the must-order dish of the moment?

Only at Virgil’s Real BBQ can you find The Pig Out, a unique dish where barbecue lovers can have it all… pork spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and a half barbecued chicken. And all of the sides too.

You’ve created Carmine’s and now Virgil’s in Las Vegas. What would you add next?

Our New York City Deli, Artie’s, which is has been acclaimed by Martha Stewart as her favorite deli. It is a concept that would be a big draw for the Las Vegas market.

What's on tap for the future?

Right now we are celebrating our first year anniversary and will continue to bring more events, entertainment and great barbecue to Vegas. Our commitment to the Vegas market will continue as we investigate other opportunities for growth.

All Coverage of Virgil’s Real Barbecue [ELV]

Carmine's

3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 473-9700 Visit Website

Virgil's Real Barbecue

3545 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 389-7400 Visit Website

Forum Shops at Caesars

3472 Las Vegas Blvd. S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 893-4800 Visit Website

The Linq Promenade

3545 South Las Vegas Boulevard, , NV 89109 (702) 322-0550 Visit Website