Big news for budget diners under the video screen umbrella of the Fremont Street Experience. Not only is White Castle on the way, but the current El Portal Indian Arts & Crafts store will shutter, to be replaced by the Fremont Food Emporium.
Without changing the current footprint, the plan is to squeeze five restaurants into the 16,564-square-foot building and create a new, open air, balcony patio on the roof. While the project is still locking down tenants, Evening Call, a Strip favorite for oversized frozen alcoholic drinks, is confirmed for the ground floor, inside a Mardi Gras-themed tavern. A second, upper-floor 6,869-square-foot tavern will feature a restaurant and gaming, plus impressive views of the action above and below.
The operators have tipped their hands in announcing the type of fellow tenants they’d like to be joining Evening Call. Early artistic renderings feature a coffee vendor, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and Krystal, the Atlanta-based creators of the Krystal Burger, a square, steamed rival to White Castle. Before fans of the cult burger, steamed buns and “Krystal Chik” get too excited, there is absolutely no confirmation these chains are in negotiations to head downtown.
The complete and very modern overhaul will remove all hints of the building’s history, demolishing the front facade and the entire interior shell once home to Las Vegas’ original downtown movie house, the El Portal Theater. Debuting on June 21, 1928, with a 700-seat auditorium and "Spanish motif lobby," the theater was frequently described as “elegant.” It was also the first building in Las Vegas to offer air conditioning.
The host of a 1957 premiere of the biopic “The Joker Is Wild,” the venue was still upmarket enough to welcome stars like Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and the film’s inspiration, Joe E. Lewis. The curtains closed for the last time in June 1978.
No timetable for the arrival of the Fremont Food Emporium has been announced.