“When we opened Rao’s Caesars Palace in December of 2006, we didn’t fully understand the impact it would have on all of our lives. Nearly 15 years later, as we prepare to close these doors for the final time, we are filled with a variety of emotions and will always look back and cherish the memories made within these walls. While our future in Las Vegas is not yet decided, we are very excited about the possibilities of what lies ahead,” Rao’s co-owners Frank Pellegrino Jr. and Ron Straci said in a press statement.
Rao’s was the second outlet for the Italian restaurant with East Harlem roots that opened in 1896. With only four tables and six booths in a space decorated in Christmas lights year-round and Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli photos on the wall, it was one of the toughest tables to nab, especially after The New York Times gave it three stars in 1977.
In Las Vegas, the restaurant keeps the same decor, only far more space than the 40 seats in Harlem, as well as a bocci ball court next to the Garden of the Gods pool complex. Rao’s is known for its meatballs made with ground veal, pork, and beef and Sunday gravy, along with Uncle Vincent’s lemon chicken that’s charcoal broiled and topped with Vincent’s famous lemon sauce, all meant to share.
“It’s a rare feat for a restaurant to be open on the Las Vegas Strip for 15 years,” Sean McBurney, Caesars Entertainment regional president, says in a press statement. “We will always be grateful to Frank Pellegrino Sr., Frank Pellegrino Jr., and Ron Straci for their partnership in bringing their legendary brand to our guests.”
For now, Rao’s remains open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.