In Rumors: Wheel House Gets Phishy, MTO Goes West


We’ve got a lot for you today, because Downtown Las Vegas is giving a lot. There’s a huge number of fun outdoor events happening in Downtown these days, from parades to marathons … but we won’t be asking Derek Stephens, the man who remade Downtown’s Sundance/Fitzgerald’s casino into The D Las Vegas, how he feels about them. When we were checking out last month’s Helldorado Parade, we noticed that his casino is completely boxed in by city-laid barriers, leaving The D with no vehicular access for hours at a time.

Given that, Stephens, who recently purchased the old Clark County courthouse building near his casino and demolished it to make way for a hybrid parking lot/outdoor events stage, must be positively red-faced every time a parade marches down 4th Street. Somebody had better sort this problem out before The D’s outdoor stage opens … which, we’re guessing, will happen late this summer, in anticipation of the resort’s second anniversary in September. Last year, The D celebrated its birthday with concerts by Stone Temple Pilots and Kid Rock. Who knows how they’ll top that … and who knows if we’ll even be able to get inside?

Speaking of blockades, you might have noticed by now that the parking lot you thought belonged to Atomic Liquors—that Western Hotel satellite lot, at the corner of 9th and Fremont—is now fenced off. Turns out that lot actually belongs to Downtown Project, and they’ve sealed it up for reasons currently known only to them. But don’t let that put you off on Atomic; its proprietors say that there’s still plenty of free parking behind the building. You shouldn’t be driving there, anyway, if you’re anything like us. Can’t recall the last time we left Atomic without a weapons-grade buzz on.

And what better to cure an Atomic hangover than a good brunch? Downtown’s MTO Cafe is building a loyal following of both Sunday brunchers and laptop-toters who appreciate the Main Street joint’s simple menu and high-quality ingredients — not to mention the free wi-fi and outlets in each booth. Word is that suburbanites, too, will soon get to taste MTO’s hard-to-resist mini-donuts when the restaurant opens a new location in Summerlin, part of the Downtown Summerlin development that’s set to open this fall.

Meanwhile, last week chef Kerry Simon launched his new venture Carson Kitchen in the revamped John E. Carson building. One of our street operatives visited the place three days in a row and has good things to report about the food, the space and the service, saying the intimate new spot has “hit the ground running.” Much of the CK crew came from Kerry Simon’s restaurant at Palms Place, explaining their personality and polish. Of note is the Bread Pudding (which uses a doughnut from neighboring O Face), the sweet Pulled Pork Sliders, and the dangerously delicious Bacon Jam. Carson Kitchen’s upstairs bar should open before the end of June.

Meanwhile, around the corner, another kind of bar—the Grass Roots Juice Bar—soft-opened yesterday, featuring cold pressed juices and ready-to-go carryout from Go Raw Cafe. That will go great with our doughnuts!

Nearby, the enormously popular Goodwich sandwich shack in the parking lot of Dino’s has unveiled a new summer menu. (We cried a little when we saw falafel was missing, but alas.) They’re also offering earlier operating hours for summer, and (yes!) delivery. We also hear the Goodwich has teamed up with the aforementioned Atomic Liquors to offer grub during World Cup matches, which seems like a win-win goooooooooooooooooal! to us.

Okay, okay, maybe we should go easy on the doughnuts and sammiches. There are fashion matters to consider. Recently, we told you that Buffalo Exchange was considering moving to Downtown after 20-ish years as the University District’s outpost of “upcycled fashion.” The story gains ground this time around, as the word in the Arts District is that the Exchange has leased two sidled-up storefronts on Main Street. Interesting note: One of those storefronts, at 1209 South Main, housed an early entrant in Downtown’s fashion scene, the short-lived high-end sneaker boutique Epic Shoos, back in the mid-2000s…

The recent Reggae in the Desert music festival returned last weekend, and after trying out a two-day slate for the first time in 2013, the fest returned to its traditional Saturday-only event. The result? Record-breaking pre-sales and a jam-packed Clark County Amphitheater for the day-long party—which, thanks to the wave of pro-legalization fever spreading across the country, seemed more irie than ever.

And on the subject of feelin’ irie, anyone who’s seen the renderings of the upcoming Wheel House project has probably wondered what’s that giant windmill tower going to look like? Well, we’ve just gotten word that Chris Kuroda—a master concert lighting designer who’s worked extensively with Phish and has also done work with recent Electric Daisy Carnival New York headliner Martin Garrix and others—is designing the tower’s nighttime look. Just watch this video of his work with Phish and this video of his work with Garrix, and just imagine how freaking amazing that tower is going to look at this time next year. Even without a weapons-grade buzz.

Vegas Seven