While the Downtown scene might seem quiet on its surface, changes are happening quickly behind the scenes—nearly faster than we can keep up. Nearly.
The spate of recent closings has street-level chatter at an all-time high, giving those who love doomporn lots to chow down on. But those in-the-know understand that when one restaurant closes, another opens … with burgers. After months of seeming inactivity, the butcher paper has come down from the windows of Fremont East’s new burger joint Flippin’ Good, and a sign has been taped to the door suggesting the spot will finally open Saturday, August 29. And as Vegas Seven recently reported, Flippin’ Good’s neighbors—a gastropub called The Smashed Pig (located in the old tattoo parlor space) and The Vault, a new mixology bar from the Oak & Ivy crew (located in the old Coterie/”Checks Cashed”/porn theater/Clover Jewelers storefront), should both follow in short order. Yay? Okay, yay.
Across the street, however, the news is mixed. The space so recently occupied by video game bar Insert Coin(s) sits dark and forlorn. (We’d find a way to liken its closure to the flop of the Adam Sandler movie Pixels, but its owners and staff deserve better. Besides, much like you, we didn’t actually see the movie.) But rumor has it that the landlord, the Artemus Ham family (which owns nearly all of that side of Fremont, from Park on east, with the exception of the El Cortez-owned Emergency Arts), is actively working with food and beverage management companies to develop a new concept to replace the shuttered bar. Credit the recent East Fremont arrival of Nevada power player Sig Rogich, an investor and frequent diner at Therapy, for the newfound Downtown confidence originating in old Vegas money.
Which leads to this stunning bit of news: Expect Radio City Pizzeria—and very likely its nearly-new, personality-driven alleyway amaro bar, Retroscena (pictured above)—to close very soon, perhaps within the week. Local food writer John Curtas reported recently that RCP was well behind in its rent, and sources suggest that RCP has struck a deal with bar and restaurant developer Jeff Fine to take over and redevelop the restaurant into something new. If true, we’re going to miss RCP’s recently-revamped menus something fierce, but we’re also hopeful for some kind of reprieve for Retroscena. Some of us haven’t even been there yet.
Meanwhile, work is progressing at the old Bar & Bistro space, in anticipation of a Labor Day Weekend opening of the third location of Crown & Anchor (the “Downtown Crown,” according to the new banner posted at the site), and late September should finally see the opening of Pawn Plaza (reportedly featuring a New York slice joint, Inna Gadda di Pizza, from those behind Secret Pizza at Cosmopolitan, as well as a spot serving Illy espresso). Meanwhile, over at Soho Lofts, there appears to be zero progress toward what was initially thought to be a September 1st relocation of The Goodwich, though the staff of the beloved sandwich hut recently announced via Facebook that they’ll be cutting back the evening hours at their current location to focus on the work that still needs to be done “to bring (the Goodwich) concept to the next level.” Luckily, the original hut will remain open for lunch, so you can still get a tomato sandwich there. You wouldn’t think it, but that thing is so damn good.
Finally: If, like us, you’ve missed the delicious gelato creations of Desyreé Alberganti (the Arts District shop she helped found, Art of Flavors, remains open, but it’s no longer run by her), we’ve some good and bad news for you. The good news is that Alberganti’s new shop, Gelatology, is now open, and her gelato is even better than it was before. The bad news is that you now need to trek to 7910 S. Rainbow—way down in Enterprise! Almost all the way to Blue Diamond Road!—to satisfy that temptation. That said, Gelatology is completely and totally worth the trip—Shakes! She’s making gelato shakes!—so the news isn’t bad at all, really. Get off that doomporn diet, friend. The future is sweeter than that.