Just call 2022 the year of the celebrity chef — whether a celebrity, a chef who is famous, or a former NFL football player. Nearly every big opening on the Las Vegas Strip involves a name that could easily flash in neon from a casino marquee — Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Nobu Matsuhisa, and that’s just at Paris Las Vegas. Off the Strip, it’s about new buildings bringing a roster of chefs, whether at a food hall, in a renovated post office, or at a new hotel. Even the Palms plans to make a comeback in 2022, but has not released its lineup of restaurants, or whether any of the places such as Marc Vetri’s Vetri Cucina, Michael Symon’s Mabel’s, Greene St. Kitchen, Bobby Flay’s Shark, or others will return.
In the meantime, 2022 front-loaded the calendar with no less than 26 big restaurant openings spanning cuisines such as Japanese omakase, pub fare, Mexican, Italian, and so much more. So strap in for a wild ride through the 26 biggest restaurant openings in 2022.
The Player: Dominique Ansel
Projected Opening: Summer 2022
Las Vegas gets its chance to order Cronuts rolled in sugar, stuffed with cream, or topped with glaze when pastry chef Dominique Ansel opens the first outpost of his eponymous bakery at Caesars Palace next to Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in summer 2022. Dominique Ansel Las Vegas plans to serve the DKA (Dominique’s kouign-amann), a caramelized croissant with flaky layers inside and a caramelized crunchy crust outside; the Cookie Shot with a warm chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass and filled with Madagascan vanilla milk for a riff on milk and cookies; and Frozen S’mores with a center of Madagascan vanilla bean ice cream covered in crispy chocolate feuilletine and then wrapped in honey marshmallow and torched to order.
The Player: Emmitt Smith
Projected Opening: 2022
Former Dallas Cowboys running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith plans to open his own restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip in 2022. The 30,000-square-foot Emmitt’s Las Vegas takes over space at the front of Fashion Show mall, filling the former Sugar Factory American Brasserie space. The restaurant plans to offer space for large private and corporate events and will showcase Smith’s Pro Football Hall of Fame career throughout the venue.
The Players: Giuliana and Bill Rancic along with Lettuce Entertain You
Projected Opening: Winter 2022
A new Italian restaurant from celebrity couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic along with Lettuce Entertain You restaurant partners R.J., Jerrod, and Molly Melman plans to open at the Forum Shops at Caesars in early 2022. RPM Italian takes over the very short-lived Slanted Door space at the front of the shopping center on Las Vegas Boulevard. Pasta — with dishes from Guiliana’s mother Mama DePandi, who appeared often on Bill and Giuliana’s reality show — makes up a bulk of the menu with more than a dozen made in house daily; think Mama DePandi’s bucatini, Maine lobster ravioli, spicy king crab with squid ink spaghetti, and lobster fra diavolo.
Projected Opening: Spring 2022
Flight Club plans to open near Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at the Grand Canal Shoppes in spring 2022. The London-based company features traditional games of darts in semi-private playing areas and adds automatic scoring for groups of six to 400. Flight Club offers a menu of yuzu guacamole, mini beef barbacoa tacos, Bavarian pretzel sticks with pimento cheese spread, mini shrimp tacos, and Kung Pao cauliflower. Loaded fries, flatbreads, Buffalo chicken sandwiches, burgers, and desserts like cotton candy and cronuts feed hungry customers.
Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux
The Players: Drew Brees, Brandon Landry, and Hash House A Go Go CEO Jim Nyberg
Projected Opening: Late January
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux comes to the Las Vegas Strip in early 2022. Walk-On’s plans to take over the former Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s Las Vegas with a sports dining venue. Brandon Landry and Walk-On’s teamed up with Hash House A Go Go for the opening. Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a part-owner. The Harrah’s location will be the first to offer breakfast as well as the Walk-On’s menu of crawfish etouffee, duck and andouille gumbo, and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. This will be the first Walk-On’s to offer breakfast.
The Player: Buddy Valastro
Projected Opening: Early 2022
Cake Boss Buddy Valastro opens a new restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip in 2022. The star of the TLC series Cake Boss gets ready to open the Boss Café by Buddy Valastro at the Linq in early 2022. Valastro, who already has Buddy V’s Ristorante and Carlo’s Bakery at the Venetian and PizzaCake at Harrah’s, goes casual with Boss Cafe, serving fare reminiscent of neighborhood delis and markets he frequented in New Jersey and New York. Baked breads, Italian sandwiches, pizzas, a house-made fresh mozzarella bar, and a variety of sweets and pastries make up a bulk of the menu. At the restaurant’s Mozz Bar, customers can grab fresh mozzarella served with warm rustic bread and a choice of toppings like basil pesto, roasted peppers, tomato-olive relish, or tomato, fresh basil, and aged balsamic. Valastro tapped his father-in-law to head up the Mutz Masters, who will pull the mozzarella in an open kitchen.
The Player: Kevin Jonas Sr.
Projected Opening: May
Nellie’s Southern Kitchen — and its Southern cooking — head to Las Vegas, opening as soon as spring in the former Hecho en Vegas space at the MGM Grand. Kevin Jonas Sr., the father of the Jonas Brothers, opens an ode to his grandmother Nellie and her biscuits. The 11,000-square-foot restaurant features a menu of chicken and dumplings, pulled pork smoked over pecan wood and stuffed on sandwiches, chicken and gravy, and a Southern meatloaf, and plans to have live entertainment as well.
The Players: John Kunkel of 50 Eggs Hospitality and Tetsuya Wakuda
Projected Opening: June
Restaurateur John Kunkel of 50 Eggs Hospitality delves into Japanese cuisine when Wakuda opens at the Palazzo. Chef Tetsuya Wakuda earned accolades at his two-Michelin-Star Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands Singapore and his popular Tetsuya’s in Sydney, Australia. In Las Vegas, Wakuda promises his first high-end Japanese restaurant with an approachable omakase experience, touching on some of his classic dishes such as ocean trout confit, perhaps his best-known dish, along with yakitori and dishes cooked over binchō-tan. Kunkel promises a restaurant “unlike any other Japanese dining on the Strip. Truly next level.”
Paris Las Vegas
The Player: Bobby Flay
Projected Opening: March
Bobby Flay opens another outpost of Bobby’s Burgers at Paris Las Vegas, making it a trio of burger restaurants in Las Vegas. The burgers feature traditional ingredients such as bacon and cheese on the Palace Classic Burger and the Bobby Blue + Bacon Burger, while a Crunchburger comes topped with cheese and chips. Side options include French fries, fries with toppings such as cheese and bacon, sweet potato fries, and buttermilk onion rings, while a lineup of milkshakes rounds out the menu.
The Player: Martha Stewart
Projected Opening: Unknown
Celebrity entrepreneur, television personality, and culinary tutor Martha Stewart will debut her first restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip at Paris Las Vegas sometime in 2022. Parent company Caesars Entertainment released no information on the potential restaurant or what Stewart could offer, but the resort allocated an estimated budget of $100,000 to “selectively” demolish an existing space on the Strip property to make way for the new restaurant.
The Player: Nobu Matsuhisa
Projected Opening: Winter 2021
Nobu Matsuhisa and his Nikkei-influenced cuisine that melds traditional Japanese dishes with Peruvian ingredients arrive at a third Las Vegas location in early 2022 at Paris Las Vegas. While the chef already has Nobu at Caesars Palace, attached to his very first hotel that opened in 2013, and Nobu at Virgin Hotels, his newest location takes over the former Sekushi space on Le Boulevard next to Café Americano and across from the hotel elevators. Matsuhisa’s indelible mark on the culinary world includes his signature dishes such as miso-marinated black cod, rock shrimp tempura, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, and king crab tempura, many of which can be found on any high-end Japanese menu now.
The Player: Lisa Vanderpump
Projected Opening: Winter 2022
Lisa Vanderpump of Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame announcing her Vanderpump à Paris opening at Paris Las Vegas. The new lounge is a follow-up to Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace with whimsical cocktails and a lush Parisian-inspired decor from Nick Alain. The bar promises a French wine list as well as the Vanderpump Family’s signature branded rosé, Chardonnay, and Cabernet, along with a special dessert cocktail menu. Vanderpump à Paris will be located next to the Paris Las Vegas front desk.
The Player: Restaurateur Nusret Gökçe aka Salt Bae
Projected Opening: Winter 2022
Restaurateur Nusret Gökçe, aka Salt Bae, is moving quickly to bring his first Nusr-Et Steakhouse to Las Vegas. Famed for his outlandish salt sprinkling presentations, 32 million Instagram followers, and a menu capped by a $1,000, 24-karat gold-coated wagyu tomahawk steak, the polarizing chef will make the Strip his latest expansion for the international chain. First revealed in December 2019, the two-story Nusr-Et Steakhouse will move into vacant space D5 at The Park and fill 12,535 square feet, equipped with kitchens on both floors, two dining rooms, plus the option of patio and balcony seating.
The Players: Anthony Carron and Steven Fretz
Projected Opening: Spring
Top Round from Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees Pizza fame and Steven Fretz, who worked with Carron at Mina Group, takes over the former Bruxie space at the Park, anchored by T-Mobile Arena, with fast-casual fare. Top Round, which enters the Nevada market for the first time, features roast beef marinated and then slow-roasted for 10 hours, as well as breaded chicken sandwiches, curly fries, and frozen custard. Roast beef sandwiches come in five regionally inspired renditions, including the Beef on Weck with the chain’s Atomic Horseradish and a caraway and sea salt bun, or the Horse & Hole, topped with St. Louis-famous Provel cheese, horseradish cream, and roasted mushrooms. The Beef & Cheese features Cheese “Wizz” made in-house and proprietary Round Sauce.
The Player: Shawn McClain
Projected Opening: Spring
Shawn McClain, the James Beard Foundation winner for Best Chef Midwest in 2006, plans to open a new Italian restaurant on the north end of the Strip. Ballo, Italian for dance, features light Italian cuisine when McClain opens the restaurant with his business partners, Richard and Sarah Camarota, at the Sahara. Simple ingredients highlighting vegetables form the base of menu that takes its cues from the coastal regions of Southern Italy. An open kitchen lets diners see their food as it’s made, while a pasta window offers a glimpse inside the process. McClain and his team plan to offer fire-roasted meats and fish, Roman pizzas, a deli window, as well as an eclectic Euro-centric wine list, desserts featuring espresso liqueurs, and an apertivo cart. The space plans to feature contemporary Italian art with smaller spaces for people to gather.
Shops at Crystals
The Players: Noble 33
Projected Opening: Spring
Los Angeles hospitality group Noble 33 plans a spring debut for its first foray to the Las Vegas Strip, importing a speakeasy, live theatrics, and a menu inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. Toca Madera will move into the former home of Todd English P.U.B., known simply as the Pub since the celebrity chef’s departure in 2017, at the Shops at Crystals with its entrance next to Aria. The Las Vegas expansion will become the brand’s flagship, featuring a lounge connected to the main dining room, an open kitchen, and a hidden speakeasy. As a preview of the high-energy environment, future diners can tune in to the venue’s soundtrack mixes on Soundcloud, but will need to visit in person to encounter fire-breathers, dancers, and musicians comprising part of the live entertainment.
The Player: Todd English
Projected Opening: February
Chef Todd English opens a hotel and restaurant in the Arts District in 2022. The chef, who has The Beast Food Hall at Area15 and Todd English’s Olives at Virgin Hotels, teamed up with Z Life Co. on the $30 million project that brings The English Hotel and The Pepper Club with sushi and oysters to a restaurant with a patio and glass-enclosed chef’s table at 921 S. Main Street near Coolidge Avenue. English describes the cuisine as a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean food styles.
201 Las Vegas Boulevard S.
Projected Opening: 2022
Dapper Cos., the real estate development company from J Dapper, takes over 43,913-square-foot office and retail building and 85,429-square-foot parking garage taking over the former Nevada Savings and Loan Association Building at 201 S. Las Vegas Boulevard in Downtown Las Vegas. The building will be home to four restaurants, along with a USPS facility on the first floor and workspace on the second and third floors. San Diego’s Broken Yolk Cafe opens its second location on the northwest corner of the building. Taco Reforma with street-style tacos, the French-inspired Baguette Café with its third location, and Pachinko Pub from FukuBurger’s Colin Fukunaga and Mark Evensvold taking space on the ground floor of the six-story parking garage. Dapper says the building has room for a rooftop restaurant and bar with a retractable roof, originally planned for a restaurant from Fukunaga and Graffiti Bao’s Marc Marrone.
The Players: Francesco di Caudo, Oscar Amador, Roberto Liendo, and Joseph Mikulich
Projected Opening: January
The team behind Edo Gastro Tapas & Wine plans to open a new restaurant, this time combining progressive Italian and Spanish cuisines with Asian ingredients. Anima, Spanish for soul, takes a different approach with a little more daring menu. Francesco di Caudo, the former executive chef at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, joins Edo’s executive chef Oscar Amador in the kitchen, with Roberto Liendo from Edo as manager and partner and Joseph Mikulich as sommelier and partner. Liendo describes the cuisine as borne of the daring restaurants of Barcelona, where Amador once had four. Think risotto with Carabineros shrimp from Spain with yuzu. Bikini sandwiches, named for Bikini Concert Hall in Barcelona, where street vendors sell pressed ham and cheese sandwiches, make the trek from Edo. At Anima, they plan to use brioche pressed with soppressata and Mahón cheese, a cow’s milk cheese named after the port of Mahon on Spain’s Minorca island, for a reinvented take on the dish. A thinly sliced carpaccio comes with puri bread from India and payoyo cheese from Andalusia, topped with a black truffle vinaigrette. Pastas and some tapas make up the menu, as well as large-format dishes, but Liendo says Anima will not be a tapas restaurant.
Unnamed Michael Mina restaurant
The Players: Michael Mina and Adam Sobel
Projected Opening: Sometime in 2022
Chef Michael Mina plans a restaurant off the Strip at UnCommons, the $400 million mixed-use property under construction over 40 acres south of the 215 Beltway at Durango Drive. So far, Mina and his management company Mina Group haven’t announced what the restaurant will be, only to say that it will be fast-casual, developed with partner Adam Sobel, and combines “East Coast nostalgia with premium ingredients.”
Urth Caffe opens its first Las Vegas location off the Strip at UnCommons. The company uses coffee beans from some of its own exclusive sources in Africa and South America, all 100 percent pesticide-free to produce organic coffee. The cafe part of the restaurant offers farm-to-table fare made with sustainable ingredients; options include acai bowls, omelets, pancakes, French toast, panini, brunch dishes, breakfast pizzas, and more.
UnCommons also plans to host the two-story, 18,000-square-foot Platform One food hall with 20 local vendors.
Famed for generating long lines of customers on opening days, in addition to its beverage menu, Teaspoon features snow ice, shaved into ribbons, in flavors including nutty taro, strawberry, mango, kumquat, and the banana, mochi, Nutella, and almond flake “Donkey Kong” dish.