June 10, 2009
A return of the Tropicana to Strip prominence has been promised by its new owners, who take the reins of the former “Tiffany of the Strip” on July 1st. Near-term plans include adding two restaurants and building a bar in the middle of the casino, renovating the sports book and opening a poker room, and redoing the pedestrian bridges from the Strip and Tropicana Avenue so they flow directly into the casino. Longer-term plans call for remodeling the hotel rooms, convention area, pools, and Tiffany Theater. The Trop had been scheduled for a possible demolition and makeover two years ago, before the economy halted those plans.
Vic’s Vacates: Just north of the Tropicana, the Trader Vic’s restaurant at Planet Hollywood will close later this month. No plans have been announced for the space, which includes a patio with one of the town’s Strip-side views.
Halfsteak: Craftsteak, the celebrated steakhouse at MGM Grand, has introduced a new menu featuring smaller portions for half the price. Steak items start at $19, but what’s amazing about this restaurant is its vegetable list—perhaps the most extensive you’ll ever encounter at a meat-and-potatoes restaurant.
Downtown Breakfast: The Omelet House, a local non-casino institution, will open location in downtown’s Plaza Casino next week. Famous for its zucchini sticks and big breakfasts, hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Gans Death: Five weeks after the sudden death of Strip star Danny Gans, the cause of his demise has been ruled accidental. Gans died from toxicity produced from painkillers that was heightened by pre-existing health issues.
Question: Was there recently another casino fire? Where? And what was the extent of it?
Answer: Not in an operating casino, but you’re likely referring to the vacant Moulin Rouge, which was the scene of a four-alarm fire in May. It was the third fire there in six years and may have finally marked the end of efforts to reopen the casino, famous for being the first integrated (for guests) gambling hall in Las Vegas.
(Anthony Curtis’ weekly column is syndicated to all the above media.)