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The Saddest Las Vegas Restaurant Closures of 2023

From neighboring Chinatown restaurants to a downtown test kitchen, here are the saddest departures of 2023

Mt. Fuji at Sweets Raku.
Mt. Fuji at Sweets Raku
Amelinda B Lee
Janna Karel is the Editor for Eater Vegas.

It’s time again for the Year in Eater where we look back at the last twelve months of Las Vegas’s restaurant scene. We reached out to Vegas’s finest food writers, reporters, and bloggers to get their takes on local trends, recent standouts, and notable newcomers. Here, they weigh in on the year’s saddest restaurant closures.

They’re all sad, to be honest. A team of people who put their blood, sweat, tears, and a substantial amount of money to come to the realization that their dream won’t be realized is a tough pill. With that being said, Sweets Raku and Big Wong, who were neighbors in the same plaza are the closures that stand out for me.
— Philip Tzeng, online at @LasVegasFill

One Bite Sandwiches was such a hidden gem. Any time I found myself in Henderson, I would make a detour to get a tofu lemongrass and mushroom bahn mi. And Vegas Test Kitchen birthed so many exciting projects in town — including Yukon Pizza which now has its own brick-and-mortar, Stay Tuned Burgers, now at the Hard Hat Lounge, and chefs Daniel Arias and Isidro Marquez, who have gone on to become chefs at the neighboring Peyote and La Mona Rosa restaurants.
— Janna Karel, Editor for Eater Vegas

Without question, Vegas Test Kitchen. I would argue that Jolene Mannina’s culinary incubator on East Fremont Street was the most important restaurant in Las Vegas for most of its short existence — allowing everyone from celebrity chefs to first-time restaurateurs to try out new concepts in a low-pressure environment. Many of the ideas that were road-tested there have gone on to find permanent homes elsewhere, and several of them were among my favorite openings of 2023. But nothing compares to the excitement and creativity of the original spot.
—Al Mancini, creator of the Neon Feast restaurant guide, co-host of Food and Loathing

The saddest closure for me was Sweets Raku. The elegant dessert presentations at this unassuming Chinatown spot never got old!
—Emmy Kasten, freelance writer for Eater, Tripadvisor, The Infatuation and more

Sweets Raku was a unique gem in Chinatown but we’re excited to see what they do with the space and their new tapas concept.
— Donald Contursi, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

I’m a big fan of bringing great food into the neighborhood and 138° in Henderson was a prime example (pun intended) of something done well. A dry-aged meat locker and fantastic brunch made it a destination eatery. It’s a shame to see it go.
—Ryan Slattery, Eater Contributor

Sweets Raku, 5098 Bread, and M.Y. Asia.
— Louiie Victa, contributing photographer for Eater

Vegas Test Kitchen but I am super happy Stay Tuned Burgers lives on.
—Melinda Sheckells, contributing writer Hollywood Reporter, Forbes Travel Guide, Business Traveler, host of Tasty Tuesday on KTNV 13

I was bummed to see 138° close in Henderson as well as the original Half Bird in Chinatown (although I think the concept will do well in Henderson and other potential locations).
—Rob Kachelriess, Contributor for Thrillist, Zip Code Magazines, and Las Vegas Weekly

138 Restaurant

1450 West Horizon Ridge Parkway, , NV 89012 (702) 272-0839 Visit Website

Sweets Raku

5040 Spring Mountain Road, , NV 89146 (702) 290-7181 Visit Website

Yukon Pizza

1130 East Charleston Boulevard, , NV 89104 (702) 509-6691 Visit Website

One Bite Sandwiches & Grilled

1550 West Horizon Ridge Parkway, , NV 89012 (702) 522-8228

Big Wong

5040 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-368-6808

Half Bird Chicken & Beer

3500 South Wynn Road, , NV 89103 (702) 476-4642 Visit Website