As the year comes to an end, one tends to reminisce about the 365 or so days before. Eater Vegas is no exception, of course, except this website’s reminiscing is driven by the page views and clicks the past year’s content has received. What news captured reader attention the most across all of 2020? Keep reading to find out.
Ah, the days before the coronavirus pandemic took over the news, the thought of new restaurants to explore captivated readers. Most interesting, what did and didn’t open in 2020, such as a Japanese restaurant from Gordon Ramsay, Zippy’s, Delilah, TAK Room from Thomas Keller, and more. The Slanted Door and Elio did open, but the Vietnamese restaurant Slanted Door remains closed and Elio closed in November for renovations.
Was it the number of restaurant employees testing positive for COVID-19 or that restaurants temporarily closed to ensure everyone else was uninfected and the restaurants were clean that kept readers rapt? Or maybe it was OJ Simpson photo bombing the picture that earned the clicks.
The state shut down casinos, restaurants, and bars in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and by May, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued its guidelines for casinos to resume gaming operations once Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted his order for all nonessential businesses to close. Perhaps not surprising, nightclubs and dayclub pool parties at a casino must remain closed, although pools can reopen with seating arranged with social distancing in mind. That still holds true, although some nightclubs converted to lounges with a more sedate setting.
Readers wanted to consume every morsel of information on restaurants during COVID-19, from what was open, where to find takeout and delivery, and how restaurants were adapting. To keep Las Vegans fed, Eater Vegas has a roster of maps and guides spanning coffee shops with drive-thrus and restaurants serving after midnight to guides to takeout and delivery in Mountain’s Edge, Water Street in Henderson, Silverado Ranch, and Chinatown, with more publishing all the time.
As restaurants inside casinos started reopening in June, three turned to a new service charge to offset the cost of COVID-19-related expenses. El Segundo Sol at Fashion Show Mall, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab at the Forum Shops at Caesars, and Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas included a 4 percent surcharge, “To help offset restrictions on our business resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, a 4% surcharge has been added to all guest checks. If you would like this removed, please let us know.” After the news came out, parent company Lettuce Entertain You stopped charging the service fee.
Restaurant closing felt even more poignant in 2020 as some called it quits because takeout, delivery, and reduced seating made it difficult to stay open during a coronavirus pandemic. Others such as Mesa Grill, Estiatorio Milos, and Pok Pok Wing, already planned to call it quits in 2020 to replace, move, or end a contract.
When the state allowed casinos to reopen on June 4 after lifting a 78-day ban that closed nonessential businesses, readers wanted to know what reopened and which restaurants returned. The last casino on the Strip, The Cromwell, reopened in October, and the Rio returns on December 22. At the same time, some casinos such as Encore Las Vegas, the Mirage, Mandalay Bay, and the Palazzo chose to close their hotels during the week.
Local casino operator Station Casinos only opened some of its resorts, including Red Rock Casino in Summerlin, Green Valley Ranch and Sunset Station in Henderson, Santa Fe Station in Centennial, Boulder Station on the eastside, and Palace Station west of the Strip, as well as six Wildfire properties. Still close though — Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Texas Station, and the Palms.
Before the state closed all nonessential businesses in March, casino owners opted to shut down operations on their own. MGM Resorts closed casino operations March 16, followed by hotel operations on March 17, “for the good of our employees, guests and communities. This is a time of uncertainty across our country and the globe and we must all do our part to curtail the spread of this virus, said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, in early March.
Readers wanted to know which restaurants reopened for dine-in service after they were allowed to reopen in May. Restaurants can offer 25 percent capacity and four diners per table and customers should make a reservation in advance.