Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Puck Shucks Bistro For Pizza

This may be a first: Wolfgang Puck's Brasserie PUCK at CityCenter's Crystals has been renamed and rethemed. Instead of it being bistro-esque, today it reopens as Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina.

This would be like Cirque deciding to replace Criss Angel Believe with Donny & Marie after six months. In Puck's 18-year history of restaurants in Vegas, I don't believe there's ever been an instance where he's opened up in one direction and decided in very short order to give it up and go an entirely different direction. In fact, I'm not sure any of his restaurants ever underwent *any* reconception and only one that I know of, the late, great Chinois, has ever closed in Las Vegas.

What does it mean? Well, clearly Puck & Co. realize the clientele visiting Aria and Crystals are more down-market than they once expected. They must have figured being around these huge, hyper-expensive shops on an $8.5 billion campus would have meant people looking for a serious, sit-down dining experience.

But, no. At least at Crystals, they want pizza. Not a good sign for MGM Mirage.


Anonymous said...

CityCenter is an economic deadhole (I cleaned up my choice of words). I would love to know the sales per square foot in Crystals (sounds like the name of a pretentious second or third wife) in contrast to other strip retail venues.


Michael said...

Puck's cafe at MGM has been through 2 or 3 different reconceptions although all were similar in the cafe style.

This definitely isn't a good development though as Im sure they expected Puck's to have the least amount of problems of all the restaurants.

I'm definitely wondering how much traffic Crystals is actually getting, after all, their intent was never to make it pedestrian friendly (kiosks, stands, etc), just high end. It's one thing for the high end shoppers to be going through, but if there is nowhere for them to seek out as a destination why go? Restaurants aren't even enough anymore in Vegas, as there are at least 4-5 top restaurants within quick walking distance of any resort and Aria has it's own big lineup too.

Brook S. said...

To the "Anonymous" SG commentator:

If you actually visited CityCenter, which is much more than what you are referring it to as, you will notice a considerable amount of foot traffic, obviously which you have not taken notice of. Todd English, Julian Serrano, and Mastro's are continuously full for dinner, as well as lunch in some cases. I was also in the LV store last week, where a woman from China was purchasing a $2K handbag. Stop the slander and give it credit!

Dasan 888 said...

Actually, Steve, during your interview with him, he emphasized how flexible he is with his new restaurants. He said he always makes changes as he learns the specific location. I wouldn't extrapolate this as bad news for CC, but rather a smart business man adapting to the environment.

mwdelta said...

I wouldn't go so far as writing off Crystals because of this. Heck, Wynn did the same thing! Pizza Place anyone?

Anonymous said...

Brook S.

I walked CityCenter in January or February this year. In the post above I asked for the sales per square foot at Crystals and how they compare with other strip retail. If they are high or comparable, it will disprove my belief about City Center. If they aren't, it will prove it. Yes, I know it will take some time for it to reach its operating potential whatever that may be. However, the data must exist for comparable ramp ups at Venetian and Wynn to contrast with CityCenter's performance which can then be adjusted for opening in a recession.

With respect to your comment about food traffic, I had a conversation with a sales clerk at Nordstroms this weekend. I asked if people were shopping. She said yes then paused. I asked if people were buying. She said no. Foot traffic is nice but it needs to lead to profitable sales to pay rent that can be used to generate a return on MGM's $8.5 billion investment.

Is it possible to slander something that is inanimate? I walked it didn't like it. That's taste. It's not marketed to me. Operating numbers will tell if the bet was the right one or not. I sold my MGM bonds.