If there’s one word to define 2023 in Las Vegas, it was: chaos. Sure, there was the usual Vegas news. Restaurants closed. Celebrities moved in with new projects. Food festivals returned after pandemic-related hiatuses. But this year had an unprecedented number of larger-than-life happenings around the Valley. Remember the MGM cyber attacks? What about the first time you saw the Sphere crest the horizon? Then there was the shitshow that was the months-long road repaving for the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. And that’s not to mention the return of paid parking at the casino parking garages.
The year also had lots of exciting news. Two new resorts opened their doors in December — which also meant dozens of new restaurants entered the Las Vegas market. The Culinary Union secured the largest wage increase ever negotiated in the union’s 88-year history — and avoided a strike. And announcements came for new restaurants, grocery stores, and bars that will debut in 2024.
Below are the top ten stories that caught the attention of Eater Vegas readers last year, plus a handful of stories you may have missed.
Service industry workers in Las Vegas voted in September to authorize a strike that had the potential to impact 22 casino resorts on the Strip — which meant bartenders, cooks, cocktail and food servers, guest room attendants, porters, bellmen, laundry, and kitchen workers statewide could hit the picket line at any time. Tensions rose until a last-minute deal was made in November — hours before the strike deadline.
Rumors about the Korean grocery chain with a cult-like following have filtered around Las Vegas for years, with several shopping center spaces looking like they may finally bring an H-Mart with its Asian groceries, copious snack aisles, and food court to the Valley. It now has a sign on the door and is expected to open in 2024.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is opening his third Las Vegas restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. His newest venture at Caesars Palace will focus on French fries.
A breastaurant chain that has been described as “Mexican Hooters” partnered with a Las Vegas hospitality company to open what it called the “first-ever hotel-casino dedicated to the Latino community.” While the Las Vegas Valley is home to several exceptional Latinx-owned restaurants and sports bars, the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina Y Casino ambitiously positioned itself as a destination for Latinx customers.
For 16 years, the casual restaurant occupied the highly visible space on the first floor of Fashion Show Mall, facing out to Las Vegas Boulevard. It served some of the best burgers on the Strip — chef Rick Moonen once called it the best hangover cure he ever experienced.
Not one, but two new casinos opened in December of 2023. The second of the resorts to open was the Fontainebleau. In the last 16 years, the property has changed ownership, changed names, started and stopped development, and now — finally — has opened its doors.
Just months before the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix — and its associated dollar signs — hit Las Vegas, the Bellagio Resort and Casino debuted a super exclusive, hard-to-find, obscenely expensive new bar. The Vault’s signature cocktails go for around $55. Its vintage cocktails are priced at closer to $135. And the top shelf retails at $30,000 per bottle.
The long-awaited Durango Casino and Resort opened in southwest Las Vegas in December of 2023. And the lead up to grand opening had locals clamoring for details about the newest off-Strip resort. This story charted all the news, announcements, and updates — including the 200 hotel rooms, convention and meeting spaces, a pool, and 15 bars and restaurants.
Who could have predicted that Las Vegas is so enamored with mini golf? The London-based adults-only mini golf course is teeing off on the Las Vegas Strip in the new year with five golf courses, a carnival-like setting, and cocktails delivered by caddy.
The celebrity-helmed restaurant opened with ample fanfare at the Horseshoe Las Vegas in March. Months later, it quietly shut its doors.
Other Stories You Might Have Missed
As Red Rock Casino continued to roll out changes to the Station Casinos resort, it permanently closed the Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar.
Bottled Blonde is moving into a crowded corner on the Las Vegas Strip with a $50 million restaurant.
Shaquille O’Neal opened a second location of his Las Vegas chicken restaurant Big Chicken.
Well — apparently it’s opening in 2024.