Las Vegas, long known as a city of excess, might be getting a little less flush.
According to a Zagat survey released earlier this month, even though Vegas is still the nation's most expensive dining city - the average bill is approximately $47.53 - Las Vegas diners are eating out less. The average number of meals eaten out dropped from 3.8 per week in 2005 to 3.3 in 2010.
Combine those figures with a few notable restaurant closings, and it makes you wonder – are the city’s restaurateurs starting to hedge their bets?
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It only seems fitting that the Las Vegas dining revolution happened in a bet against long odds.
In 1992, when the desert city was predominantly ridden with 99-cent seafood buffets and medieval-themed restaurants, Wolfgang Puck took a chance and opened Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.
It hit jackpot - enkindling a fine dining revolution in Sin City that is still on a roll.
Since then, the likes of culinary superstars like Mario Batali, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse and Thomas Keller have packed their bags (and knives) and joined the ranks of Puck in Glitter Gulch.
And when the reported $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort opened last week, 13 more restaurants were added to the entertainment capital's gourmet roster - including eateries from Scott Conant and José Andrés.
We recently caught up with five of the Cosmopolitan's chefs and restaurateurs to find out how the new wave of locals eat.
Five Quintessential Vegas Dining Experiences
From $15.95 for an all-you-can eat Champagne Dinner Buffet to $150 for a multi-course feast from a Michelin-starred chef, few places pack as much culinary diversity into a four-mile stretch as the Las Vegas Strip.
Starting at the north end in the shadow of the Stratosphere, I set out for a low-to-high tour of what's on the T-Day menu.
First stop: Frankie's Tiki Bar, a 24-hour spot with a parking lot that was almost deserted when I stopped in a bit after noon. Seems Thanksgiving doesn't put people in the tiki mood: "I had literally like five people all day long last year," bartender Tawnya commented.
But she'd already beaten that tally by midday this time around, and she was expecting a pickup in the evening: "After people are done dealing with their families, they're ready for a cocktail."
Every so often, we're highlighting a local or regional blogger we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.