Pete Rose’s New Home Base, Restaurant Startup’s New Judge and Giada In the Big Apple


A Buffalo chicken sandwich at Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill

Those planning to “staycation” in Las Vegas during the holiday season know that it’s a great time to play Tourist on the Strip. And the newest dining addition is a baseball-lover’s paradise: Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill (in Hawaiian Marketplace, 702-331-5100). Located across from Aria, it’s a taste of Americana and fun bar food, served surrounded by plenty of baseball memorabilia. Rose, who lives in Las Vegas, is well represented through both historic pieces from his collection, but also on the menu as well. There’s the three-way Cincinnati Chili spaghetti to commemorate Rose’s time with the Reds, a classic Philly cheesesteak for when he played for the Phillies and, of course, poutine, in honor of the Montreal Expos.

At its heart, Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill is about bar food—lots of deep-fried apps, burgers and flatbreads—but all really nicely done, and best enjoyed on the Strip-side patio so you can enjoy both the games on the outdoor TVs and people watching. I was a big fan of the carne asada fries, served on those cool sidewinder-cut potatoes (like curly fries, but wider) and topped with sliced flank steak, pico de gallo, nacho cheese and other classic nacho accoutrements. Buffalo chicken sandwiches are everywhere, but this is one is a new favorite—crunchy and pleasantly spicy on a squishy bun. A huge surprise was the Greek shaved corn: roasted corn tossed with pesto and feta cheese, and bursting with fresh, well-balanced flavors; it knocked the entire meal out of the park.

We move off the Strip, where a few distinguished honors have been bestowed on some Las Vegas-centric culinary professionals. Prolific restaurateur Elizabeth Blau of Honey Salt, Made L.V. and Andiron will join CNBC’s popular series Restaurant Startup for three episodes. Each week, two teams compete for a restaurant in Los Angeles, backed by one of the illustrious judges. The new season, which kicks off January 6, features fellow restaurateurs Joe Bastianich (part of B&B Ristorante, Otto, Carnevino and B&B Burgers & Beer—all in the Venetian and the Palazzo) and Tim Love, who along with Blau, will invest their own money in restaurant concepts that they feel will be long-term successes.

From the West Coast to the East Coast, Giada di Laurentiis is making big moves in the first year of having her own restaurant. And on on November 24, she’ll bring dishes from her eponymous Las Vegas restaurant in The Cromwell to her debut at the esteemed James Beard House in New York City. We give Giada mad props for selling out her first Beard dinner, where she’ll serve her signature California-Italian-style dishes, including arugula salad with candied lemon and pancetta; rigatoni with vegetable Bolognese; and Barolo-braised wagyu short ribs with lemon smashed potatoes. Everyone’s making moves, and just in time for the New Year.