We’re taking it easy this week, enjoying the great outdoors. The lovely terrace at Carson Kitchen opened recently, but there remains some confusion as to whether food is to be served up there, or just drinks. On a recent (ahem) “scouting expedition,” the hostess suggested it was booze only, but when we crawled up the stairs (right into the O Face of doughnut-dude and birthday boy Sonny Ahuja), menus were out and the Bacon Jam was a-flowin’. We do hope they decide to keep serving upstairs snacks up there, where an A/C duct mercifully disgorges cold air underneath the bar’s canopy. (Somewhere, someone’s dad is screaming, “Do you think I’m paying to air-condition the entire damn DTLV?!”)
Much like Viva Las Arepas before them, it’s only a matter of time before the great guys at The Goodwich get themselves a more permanent space. The Little Sandwich Shack That Could has shifted its hours earlier for the summer, slinging its in-demand sammies from 8am-2pm, and we can’t help but think that if they were in a larger space with central air, they could stay open longer. They might consider the corner unit at the Las Vegas Boulevard end of Soho Lofts (that unit—partially vacant, partially housing Resnicks Grocery—recently went up for sale). Or they might consider the long-empty restaurant space under the L’Occtaine Apartments. But our big-eared street operatives say a move to Fremont East is pending …
That isn’t the only change coming to our Downtown food desert. We hear that the Downtown Project’s neighborhood market, now under construction at the corner of Fremont and 7th, is aiming for a September opening. (We expect a few of Downtown Project’s new offerings to open their doors before the Life Is Beautiful Festival, a natural showcase for all that’s new and shiny in Fremont East, happens in October.) From what we’re hearing, we expect Whole Foods in miniature—a neighborhood grocery with a focus on fresh foods and healthy stuff.
Meanwhile, in the Arts District, an as-yet-unnamed business now under construction next to Gaia Flowers aims to increase the amount of locally-sourced fruits and vegetables in Las Vegas’ restaurants. How they aim to do this, either by working with local farms or by simply growing the veggies themselves, we don’t yet know for sure. We are sure, however, that we really like the idea.
Speaking of Life Is Beautiful: We hear that the festival’s art curator Patrick Duffy is actively pursuing a world-famous graphic artist whose work has taken him from the streets to the White House. (We can’t say the artist’s name here, but he’s can say that he’s one to Obey the Giant whims of his muse.) But we can straight-out tell you about an artist who has made the lineup: Jerry Misko, who already has two murals on Emergency Arts, will be a part of Life Is Beautiful’s 2014 arts program. Maybe he’ll fill in the space vacated by that Interesni Kazki mural last year…
The Red Mansion Chinese restaurant at the Downtown Grand recently closed its doors abruptly, which we found terribly annoying because it happened just as we were making plans to sample the joint’s dim sum. Ah, well. … Similarly, if you’re a fan of The Flame at the El Cortez, well, you might want to enjoy it as much as possible, because the joint is shuttering this fall to make way for a new 24-hour restaurant concept. If all the ElCo updates we’re hearing about come to fruition, the casino could emerge as that all-to-rare entity: a historic property with modern appeal, much like Hollywood’s Roosevelt, Tuscon’s Hotel Congress or one of McMenamins’ many hotels in Washington and Oregon.
We wonder what is happening at the old Winfield Manor apartment building at 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. When we strolled by recently, all the upstairs windows were slid open and it appeared as though work was being done inside. The 25-unit apartment building was built in 1954, and was purchased by a California-based company in May 2013.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder what’s going in to the former boxing gym at 1020 Fremont: It’s going to be a bookstore. Writer’s Block Book Shop will occupy 2,500 square feet of that space (located diagonally across the street from Atomic Liquors), and will offer new books and specialty merchandise, education for young writers, and the most ineffable of urban pleasures, book store smell. (If only they could bottle that scent as a cologne. We’d have much better luck picking up librarians.) Expect to breathe it in come September—probably on the eve of the Vegas Valley Book Festival.
And we’re happy to report that Buffalo Exchange recently confirmed what we first reported in this column months ago: They are moving to Main Street this fall, solidifying our belief that the Arts District is emerging as a more locals-friendly counterpoint to Fremont East … a place where you can sell your old jeans for cash, spend that found money on a microbrew from Hop Nuts and maybe a couple packs of instant film from Las Vegas Camera Club, and pick up your bike from the free valet at Bonneville Transit Center and ride it home.
Oh yeah, we almost forgot: A craft beer pub is opening next month in an old shopping center on the north side of Sahara Ave, just east of Valley View. Sixteen taps.We’ve heard it’s in the old Viva Zapata’s Mexican restaurant space, which dates back to the 1970s. It’ll be nice to have another watering hole in that corner of the Downtown rectangle, which has been somewhat bereft since The Cellar closed. Let’s hear it for the great indoors!
PHOTO BY GEOFF CARTER