Tribal casinos in Southern California have gone from expansion booms to expansion delays with the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t entirely hampered progress on some projects.
Last year we saw it all from a new hotel tower to several restaurants added to Southern California casino properties. In 2022, that progress will continue with a new entertainment hub and dining options from celebrity chefs, among others.
Harrah’s Resort Southern California
In July, Harrah’s Resort Southern California announced its partnership with British chef and reality TV star Gordan Ramsay to open an in-house Hell’s Kitchen restaurant. The new addition will replace the closed Italian restaurant, Che Bello. Before, the space was an Italian restaurant, it was the Harrah’s buffet. It has become common for casinos to embrace new concepts amid buffet closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be the first Hell’s Kitchen site in Southern California and the fourth in the world, after Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Dubai. Ramsay’s menu at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas includes entrees such as dry-aged New York strips, crispy-skin salmon, and Beef Wellington priced at $ 32.95 to $ 63.95, with sides. at $ 13.95.
According to a press release from Harrah’s, the new restaurant will seat 332 people and include a lounge and raised bar.
The restaurant is slated to open in spring 2022.
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa announced a partnership with cookbook author and former “Top Chef” competitor Fabio Viviani in July 2021. Fabio Viviani’s Marketplace will replace the former Potrero Canyon Buffet.
The concept is a buffet designed as an upscale dining hall, where chefs welcome customers who select items from a menu that will be freshly prepared at each stand. The Marketplace offers seven restaurants: Mercato Centrale (Italian), Al Comal (Mexican / South American), Pescato (seafood), Pork & Waffles (barbecue and southern comfort food), Sukiru (pan-Asian), Prime Cuts (part steakhouse and part Brazilian Churrascaria) and Sweet Things (desserts).
If this all sounds delicious to you, I hope you had the chance to take one of Viviani’s virtual cooking classes to get a taste of how he cooks his meals.
The original opening date was December 2021, but the marketplace is now slated to debut in the first quarter of 2022.
Yaamava ‘Resort & Casino
Yaamava ‘Resort & Casino completed major construction work last year, in line with its vision to become a luxury casino. A 17-story, 432-room hotel tower, which features a spa and VIP lounge, which opened in December, is Yaamava’s most recent addition. The hotel’s pool terrace, which includes the Radiance Café restaurant and Helix Bar, will open in spring 2022.
Yaamava’s expansion also saw the opening of several new high limit rooms, three new bars and the Serrano Vista Café. The casino has also reopened the Serrano Buffet and moved the Pines Modern Steakhouse to a new space. The Pines also brought back Sunday brunch.
The move of the gourmet restaurant from the second floor of the casino to the first floor, near the hotel entrance, left a space vacant in its former home. In an interview during the hotel’s grand opening, General Manager Peter Arceo said plans for the space were under wraps at the moment, but he teased what was to come by saying it would be more of a “fun and wild factor” as opposed to the luxury experiences offered within the hotel and spa.
“This will add another new dimension of entertainment,” said Arceo. “It will be more fun, inviting and interactive. “
The complex will also open an event center in 2022. The 2,800-seat venue has suffered setbacks due to supply chain disruptions.
“Like everything else, we are waiting for supplies to arrive from abroad,” Arceo said. “But we hope to have some visibility on an opening date in the next month.”
Arceo said the room was beautiful and had great acoustics. He said Yaamava ‘also plans to offer a VIP experience that is not offered at other casinos.
“I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised,” Arceo said. “Once we get on a few shows, this will be the hottest ticket in town, I guarantee it.”