Circa Resort reveals restaurant lineup

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High profile announcements have become commonplace for Derek Stevens with regard to the December 2020 arrival of the Circa Resort & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

The trend continued Wednesday morning at The D’s Detroit Ballroom. An army of press and public relations folks were on hand and eager to learn from the man himself as to whom the culinary operating partners might be at the end of the year.

Stevens also broke the ice by saying that there would be no need for questions on whether the project was on time. It certainly is.

It was not particularly a surprise to find out that Stevens yearned for “hands-on” operators whom are fully committed to incredible food and customer service. This is how he operates his resorts.

While the Strip has done a great job at procuring celebrity chefs for their high profile spaces, Stevens has thoughtfully taken a different approach. He stayed close to his roots both in Michigan, and Las Vegas, especially downtown.

Stevens said that “a great steakhouse was pertinent to this property.” He mentioned that he and his wife Nicole scouted the U.S. for such a venue. After not being fully satisfied with their exploration, the solution came from a pitch to Derek by a local group at The D’s famed Longbar. Don’t most of his dealings occur in this fashion?

The group is Make It Happen Hospitality, and it’s fronted by veteran steakhouse chef Barry Dakake. The name of the venue will be Barry’s Downtown Prime.

For those who don’t know Barry, he spent nearly two decades at The Palms with both N9NE Steakhouse and Scotch 80 Prime. Not only is he a terrific chef, but he’s a great host with an endearing personality.

The next introduction was Paul Saginaw whom will operate Saginaw’s Delicatessen, a 24-hour, family-style deli. This is part of the Michigan connection as Stvens and his brother Greg frequented Saginaw’s famous deli in Ann Arbor, Zingerman’s.

In the beautifully crafted video for the press, Saginaw visually described how the Russian dressing would roll down one’s arms when lifting his famous Reuben to one’s mouth.

The Asian-themed restaurant, to be called 8 East, is a tip-of-the-cap to Fremont Street’s iconic Le Thai. Stevens noted that “it was important that we brought a group in that represented the early stages of the development and renaissance of downtown Las Vegas.”

Chef Dan Coughlin will craft creative takes on Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean dishes at 8 East.

There’s no question that the keystone element of Circa Resort will be its monumental sports book. The adjoining sports bar and grill that will sit atop this venue will be called Victory Burger and Wings Co.

The operators are brother and sister duo Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros who are third generation owners of American Coney Island, currently located in The D. They’ll be known for five signature half-pound burgers along with wings and famous onion rings.

Chris said, “we’re big sauce people.”

The final reveal was for Project BBQ, a concept by Chef Rex Bernales. Situated on Circa’s exterior, this will be Fremont Street Experience’s only permanent food truck and its first Carolina BBQ joint.

There will be a Southern festival of smoked meats. This unique venue will be situated on Circa’s exterior and spill out onto the F.S.E. with a built-in “backyard” for communal gathering.

Wednesday’s news conference was another exciting event in anticipation of Downtown Las Vegas’ first ground-up resort since 1980. Stevens and his team have delivered thus far and there’s no doubt that the 2020 Christmas holiday season will be extra special.

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