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Interior restaurant view showing empty tables in a long, wood-paneled room with hanging ceiling fixtures draped with leaves.
Inside Vegas’s new Lumin Cafe & Kitchen, the restaurant counterpart to the Illuminarium sensory experience.
Bill Milne

In Vegas’s Illuminarium, Lumin Cafe & Kitchen Slings Comfort Classics With a Twist

The lively cafe, situated on one side of the building, offers counter-service ordering with an all-day dining menu and late-night patio

The Illuminarium launched at Area15 on April 21 and includes a restaurant from Chef Kim Canteenwalla and hospitality veteran Elizabeth Blau. Serving kicked-up comfort dishes, Lumin Cafe & Kitchen feeds diners inside Illuminarium, an immersive, family-friendly virtual reality experience with multiple 360-degree shows.

At Illuminarium, visitors leave reality behind to enter a virtual world where, depending on the room, the scent of flowers fills the room or the ground shakes as VR elephants stampede. Opening with several VR simulations, attendees in “Space” can walk and leave footprints on the moon, tag along on a safari during “Wild,” or walk into a ​​Georgia O’Keeffe painting before entering the light-filled room at Lumin Cafe.

Two women at a standing table inside a room with neon pink and violet flower visuals projected on the walls.
Inside the Illuminarium.
Bill Milne

The restaurant pair, also behind Honey Salt and Buddy V’s Ristorante in Las Vegas, as well as pending restaurants like the incoming Conrad, teamed up with architect and designer David Rockwell to create a dual-purpose, modern restaurant space with a separate patio. “David Rockwell has been a friend, collaborator, and mentor for probably the better part of 25 years, so whenever he calls and tells me he’s working on something exciting, I don’t even ask questions. I just literally say yes,” Blau says about the opportunity to open at Illuminarium, adjacent to Area15.

Bathed in natural light with an earthy decor, the lively cafe, situated on one side of the building, offers counter-service ordering with an approachable all-day dining menu, serving American comfort food favorites with some unexpected elements. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. “It’s so light and airy,” Blau says. “It’s earth tones and there’s tons of greenery, so we certainly have that natural aesthetic here that we love so much at Honey Salt.”

Interior restaurant view showing empty tables in a long, wood-paneled room with hanging ceiling fixtures draped with leaves. Bill Milne
Glass exterior doors to a restaurant softly lit by overhead and standing lights. Bill Milne
Glass exterior doors to a restaurant softly lit by overhead and standing lights. Bill Milne

Opposite the lobby and juxtaposed against the big, industrial building, a covered patio and bar serves a late-night tapas-style menu ideal for night owls — the patio is open until midnight five nights a week and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. An attraction ticket is not needed to dine at either location. Explaining how the modern museum restaurant has evolved in recent years, Blau says she wanted “something unique and special” in the style of the memorable destination cafes found in New York City and popping up in other cities across the country.

A patio view with ceiling plants hanging above wood-paneled group tables and couches that have blue-striped cushions.
The good for daytime and late-night patio at Lumin Cafe & Kitchen.
Bill Milne

The menu at Lumin Cafe takes familiar salads, burgers, sliders, and fries and ups the ante. Think: a salad with red lentils, chickpeas, and hummus; a BLT bowl (mimicking the classic sandwich sans bread); a fried chicken sandwich topped with kimchi; and, on the more classic side, a fish and chips plate and hamburger options, including an Impossible burger. Sides include parmesan and truffle fries, an indulgent mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker crust, and crispy onion rings. There are also small snacking plates like pretzel bites with the cheese sauce for dipping and a tater tot poutine, one of Canteenwalla’s staple dishes.

Expect a little heat, too. The Korean fried chicken and buffalo cauliflower bites offer a bit of spice, while the hot chicken sliders and crispy arancini with sriracha aioli also pack a punch.

A gray ceramic plate holding a pile of saucey chicken flecked with green onion and sesame seeds, served aside a spicy aioli and dressed multicolored cabbage. Bill Milne
A salad with bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes in a gray ceramic bowl atop a purple tray. Bill Milne
A black bowl with crispy-fried cauliflower topped with sliced red chiles, blue cheese crumbles, and a side of hot sauce on a marble table with drinks, napkin, and cutlery. Bill Milne

Buffalo cauliflower bites.

When it comes to drinks, Lumin offers beer, wine and canned cocktails on the cafe side and a full bar on the patio, complete with a trio of themed cocktails based on each Illuminarium show. From the O’Keeffe menu, guests can order drinks with floating flowers like the Red Canna, a vodka cocktail and a marigold floater, while “Space” section includes three speciality drinks including a Tiki-inspired vodka cocktail with a blend of juices, spices, and gold sugar garnish. These drinks are also available at Illuminarium After Dark, where the backdrop morphs from the streets of Tokyo to a floral French garden, among other scenes.

Those who leave room for dessert can take a trip to the cookie and pastry bar. Here, you’ll find dark chocolate chip cookies, s’mores nachos, and Oreo milkshakes, among the many offerings.

A coffee cup, empty plate, two spoons, and a bowl filled with graham crackers, chocolate bar pieces, and toasted marshmallows sitting on a gray marble table.
S’mores nachos.
Bill Milne

“It’s going to be every bit as entertaining as the shows you’ll see here,” Blau says of the new restaurant. “It’s a great accompaniment to the experience.”

Lumin Cafe and Kitchen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Patio hours from Sunday through Thursday extend to midnight; patio hours on Friday and Saturday extend to 2 a.m.

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