owners, who managed what was once one of the Strip's swinging
resorts, hope to parlay the property's retro appeal into new
business in the future.
which is marking its 45th anniversary last week, was one of
the biggest and nicest Strip resorts when it opened July 2,
1958. The resort's 105-foot pool and 16,500-square-foot casino
were the biggest in the state at the time, and its marquee was
the world's largest electric sign.
though the property lacks megaresort staples like exploding
volcano-style entry statements, luxurious spas or trendy nightclubs,
Chairman Bill Boyd says the property is still a money-maker
for Boyd Gaming Corp.
still have very positive cash flows," Boyd said. Stardust
cash flow was up 17.8 percent last year, to $15.1 million. The
property's 2003 first quarter was also solid, with cash flow
up 6.9 percent to $4.8 million.
that the Stardust
has seen flashier days but said those seeking retro Las Vegas
style can find it at the Stardust.
Old Las Vegas, and we have a lot of customers who enjoy the
classic Las Vegas experience," Boyd said.
Gaming is celebrating its past, the company is also looking
to the property's future. "The Stardust
and its potential for redevelopment are important assets to
our company," Boyd said, noting the company has not decided
on any firm redevelopment plans for the Stardust
however, he expects to take his time deciding on development
plans for the Stardust
site. Results from his company's newly opened Borgata
megaresort in Atlantic City and from Steve Wynn's planned 2005
opening of Wynn Las Vegas will figure into his calculus, he
the property and its downtown cousin the Fremont
on Feb. 28, 1985, 16 months after state gaming regulators asked
him to operate the Stardust
while investigators sorted out skimming charges against its
owners -- Al Sachs and Herb Tobman. Sachs and Tobman were eventually
fined $3.5 million on skimming charges.
Control Board member called Boyd in 1983 to ask whether the
company could keep the Stardust's
2,000-plus employees working by operating the hotel and casino,
he recalled. "The state of Nevada's been very good to us,
and we owe something back," Chairman Bill Boyd recently
said he thought at the time. "I was somewhat naive, because
it was a war those first three months." But after reigning
in some of the excesses of the prior regime, Boyd executives
learned more about the property, enough to make them eager to
bid on the Stardust
roots were in downtown Las Vegas and at Sam's
Town on Boulder Highway, but Boyd wasn't fazed by the prospect
of competing against the big boys on the Strip.
the same business, no matter where you're looking at,"
Boyd explained. The family introduced its more personal style
Stardust Resort & Casino has been a Las Vegas legend since
1958. Fittingly it is now home to another Las Vegas icon, Wayne
Newton. "Mr. Las Vegas" headlines at the Stardust
40 weeks a year in the Wayne Newton Theater. The Stardust is
flanked on the north by the Westward Ho and Circus Circus and
the New Frontier to the South.
service, a change that Boyd's maintained for almost two decades.
we took over the dealers weren't even allowed to talk to customers,"
he said. "We're more of a family-type company."
first 25-plus years was also a family affair -- the kind headed
by a Godfather. Among
notorious owners - and hidden controllers - were founder Tony
Cornero, who built most of the original property but died before
its opening; Chicago mobster Sam Giancana; Cleveland racketeer
and Desert Inn owner Moe Dalitz and alleged mob frontman Allen
Stardust employee Larry Vance, who has worked in various entertainment
and food and beverage positions at the property since 1961,
bridged both the mob and Boyd eras.
a busboy, waiter, captain, valet, and a limo driver before joining
middle management in the '70s. "Before Caesars, before
the International (now the Las
Vegas Hilton), before the convention center, we were it,"
Vance said. "The Stardust
was dead center Strip, and we were the biggest thing in the
himself on reinvesting in the company's casinos, and notes the
new hotel tower the company added in 1991.
has faced a number of challenges since Boyd bought the property,
many of which he acknowledged he hadn't anticipated. Chief among
those changes was the dramatic Strip building boom that Steve
Wynn ushered in when he opened The
Mirage in 1989.
Flay to Open First Restaurant Outside of
New York at Caesars Palace
VEGAS - Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has reached an agreement
Palace to bring the vibrant Southwestern cuisine of
his nationally acclaimed Mesa Grill to the famed Las Vegas
resort. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2004, the new
Mesa Grill at Caesars
Palace will be Flay's first restaurant outside of
New York City. The announcement was made July 10th by
Mark Juliano, president of Caesars
Palace in Las Vegas.
award-winning chef, television personality, popular cookbook
author and successful restaurateur, Flay is known to millions
of fans as resident chef for the CBS "Early Show."
He also hosts three popular television series for the
Food Network -- "Hot Off the Grill With Bobby Flay,"
the culinary travel adventure "FoodNation With Bobby
Flay" and "Boy Meets Grill," named after
his very successful third cookbook.
Flay's new Mesa Grill will be a stand-alone destination
for Las Vegas and a wonderful addition to the dining array
Palace," said Juliano. "In addition to Flay's
formidable culinary talent, his team consistently provides
an elevated atmosphere of warm hospitality."
goal with Mesa Grill has always been to create boldly
flavored food in a high-energy environment," said
Flay. "Las Vegas, especially Caesars
Palace, seems to be the perfect fit."
Born in Manhattan, Flay first became interested
in cooking at the age of 17 while working in New York's
legendary Joe Allen's restaurant, where Bobby's father
was a partner. Impressed with Flay's potential, Allen
funded the prodigy's tuition to the French Culinary Institute
in New York.
The 1991 opening of Mesa Grill firmly
established Flay's position as a leading New York chef
and major American culinary force. Tantalizing selections
like Shrimp and Roasted Corn Tamale, and favorites such
as New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho
Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan
Butter, helped solidify Flay's reputation as one of the
foremost practitioners of Southwestern cuisine. The restaurant
won New York magazine critic Gael Greene's choice as Best
Restaurant in 1992. The New York Times raved that the
"sassy fare at Mesa Grill surpasses anything of its
kind elsewhere in New York." For the last five years,
the Zagat survey has named Mesa Grill the Number 1 American
Regional Restaurant in New York City.
In May 1993, Flay was named the James
Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year, an award
honoring the most accomplished chef under age 30. That
same year, he received the French Culinary Institute's
first Outstanding Graduate Award; he continues to be an
active Master Chef mentor on behalf of his alma mater.
innovative cuisine is chronicled in four popular cookbooks.
In 1994, he published "Bobby Flay's Bold American
Food" (Warner Books) which won the 1995 International
Association of Culinary Professionals award for design.
His second, "From My Kitchen To Your Table"
(Clarkson Potter, 1998), won raves from The New York Times
Book Review. "Boy Meets Grill" (Hyperion, 1999)
has enjoyed several printings. His most recent is "Bobby
Flay Cooks American" (Hyperion, 2001), and a fifth
book is slated for release
In November 1993, Flay opened Bolo, his
second New York restaurant, just blocks away from Mesa
Grill. Awarded three stars by The New York Times, Bolo
brings the same energy to Spanish cuisine that Mesa Grill
has brought to Southwestern cuisine. Bolo continues to
be voted the top Spanish restaurant in New York City by
the Zagat Survey.
Flay's Mesa Grill at Caesars
Palace will serve lunch and dinner just a few steps
from the resort's new Colosseum, where international recording
artist Celine Dion stars in "A New Day," an
elaborate theatrical production scheduled through early
2006. When Celine is not performing, the Colosseum presents
a who's who of top headliners, including Mariah Carey,
Tim McGraw and Jerry Seinfeld. The new Mesa Grill announcement
follows the March 17 opening of Bradley Ogden, the namesake
restaurant of the celebrated Bay Area chef. Bradley Ogden
is located between Wolfgang Puck's Spago and French Chef
Jean-Marie Josselin's Pacific Rim-inspired 808.
Palace is a Park Place Entertainment resort. Park
Place owns, manages or has an interest in 27 gaming properties
operating under the Caesars, Bally's, Flamingo, Grand
Casinos, Hilton and Paris brand names with a total of
approximately two million square feet of gaming space,
29,000 hotel rooms and 54,000 employees worldwide.