Photo by Hew Burney Sam Barnett pours a pint at English’s
Photo by Hew Burney Tasti D-Lite toppings bar
Photo by Hew Burney Double Helix server Rachel Palmer brings out the house-brand wine
When Town Square opened in late 2007, not everyone was convinced it was going to survive. Several storefronts were empty, and the parking lot was often barren. But thanks to a great tenant mix and central location, it didn’t take long for it to become the hot spot of the Valley. Even in the blustery winter and sweltering summer months, the place is packed with shoppers, moviegoers, diners and drinkers. The mall that offers it all has done considerably well.
However, not all of the dining venues have had the same experience. Several Town Square (6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South) restaurants opened with some success but ultimately ended up closing their doors—Cadillac Ranch and Nu Sanctuary are the most recent closures. With so much activity going on in the dining space, it’s hard to keep track of what’s gone, what’s left and what’s fabulous. Joining the veteran anchor restaurants—which include Blue Martini, Brio, Yard House and California Pizza Kitchen—are four newcomers offering bites and booze for singles and families looking for that quick burger and shake before the movie, wine and cigars at the end of the night, low-calorie frozen treats anytime and even afternoon tea.
“Come in and warm up with a complimentary hot toddy!” This is the sign that greets patrons as they walk into English’s, setting the stage for the “quintessential British gastropub.” The vibe is carried through the whole experience with its menu consisting of pints of English, Irish and Scottish beers; typically British fare such as fish and chips and bangers and mash; and even a traditional afternoon tea with scones, cream, jam, finger sandwiches, pastries and your choice of tea or champagne. In addition to the eats, much of the staff is actually English, so if the food and drinks weren’t enough, the servers will definitely set the mood. You may just leave wearing white gloves and an oversize hat. 478-8080, EnglishsTownSquare.com.
Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge
Named for the molecular structure of DNA, Double Helix takes its confidence in wine’s supposed health benefits well beyond just the venue name. “We think wine is good for everything, and can be used in every aspect,” says Double Helix’s wine director, Krista Rediske. In addition to the more than 30 wines by the glass and its extensive bottle list, the venue uses flour made from dried, ground grape skins in its pasta sauce and brownies, infusing them with antioxidants. The venue also offers more than 100 whiskeys and an impressive menu backed by chef Doug Vega, previously of DB Brasserie. With dark-wood tabletops, mocha-leather couches that line the parameter and low lighting, patrons can grab their libation of choice and sink into the chill atmosphere. Not to miss are the signature sangria and the Grown Up’s Grilled Cheese—both of which are offered on the daily happy-hour menu from 3:30-7:30 p.m. 735-9463, TownSquare.DoubleHelixWine.com.
I Love Burgers
While there is nothing exactly new or ingenious about its offerings—burgers, fries and shakes are ubiquitous—Town Square’s most recent addition has personality. The establishment caters to youngsters with not only its burgers-and-fries menu, but its décor features walls covered in chalkboards for childlike artistic expression. But this is not just a fancy Mickey D’s. I Love Burgers also offers an adult-friendly menu (booze-spiked strawberry milkshakes, anyone?), a full bar and a dozen high-definition TVs showing games nightly. And for the more refined palate, the burger bar does offer ahi tuna sliders and a host of unique, fresh salads. 242-2747, ILoveBurgers.com.
Forgoing dessert in order to fit into the clothes you just bought is no longer a worry, as Tasti D-Lite offers low-calorie frozen desserts. Don’t worry, though: You won’t have to sacrifice taste. The parlor offers more than 100 flavors of its soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt. And—believe it or not—the proffered crepes, smoothies, shakes, sundaes and parfaits are also part of the low-calorie menu. Both health-conscious and dessert-loving Town Square shoppers visit for sweet, guilt-free treats. There are four locations on the Strip and Fremont Street, and the company hopes to have 15 locations around the Valley by 2013. 998-5127, TastiDLite.com.