Even while Clique Hospitality puts the finishing touches on Clique Lounge, its third project in Las Vegas, which is expected to open right around Christmas in the Cosmopolitan, the group has reached a management agreement with Station Casinos to open and operate three more venues in 2016. The management group helmed by Light Group veteran Andy Masi will take over Mercadito Mexican restaurant in Red Rock Resort in February 2016, making “slight but elegant renovations” before rebranding and reopening it as Libre shortly thereafter.
Masi will also take over Mercadito Hospitality’s two planned Green Valley Ranch Resort spaces, and will install Bottiglia, an Italian restaurant, and Borracha, a Mexican eatery, in April and May, respectively. According to a release, Bottiglia will offer “rustic, farm-fresh, classic Italian fare with the extensive wine selection of a traditional enoteca,” while Borracha will serve “imaginative Mexican cuisine coupled with a sophisticated and slightly edgy aesthetic.”
Libre, between Clique’s other Red Rock outlets Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar and Salute Trattoria Italiana, will feature the group’s chef-partner Brian Massie presenting Mexican food “that is as much about the fun as it is about the feast,” and making a deliberate effort in the direction of vegan and gluten-free dishes. On the menu at Libre, expect to see a crispy Dynamite rock shrimp taco, bubbling queso fundido, carne asada skirt steak, a chicken brown rice bowl and steak fajita. Similarly, Borracha is already tinkering with its salsas and guacomole selections, a blackened tuna tostada, garlic shrimp in a molcajete and a Baja fish taco.
Mercadito Hospitality is a restaurant group run by partners Alfredo, Felipe and Patricio Sandoval. The brothers opened their first Mercadito in New York in 2004, and also have restaurants in Chicago. The Red Rock location occupies the space that once housed LBS Burgers, and boasted a makeover that included the creation of an extensive outdoor patio. A second Mercadito and Tippling Hall by beverage consultants Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay (a.k.a. Tippling Bros.) had been slated for 2015 openings at Green Valley Ranch.
Hayes Swope, general manager of Mercadito in Red Rock Resort adds, “We are hopeful that Libre … will continue the commitment to creative Mexican cuisine Mercadito helped pioneer and has brought to guests in Las Vegas since 2014.”