Source: The Street
When you walk the Las Vegas Strip you see women wearing showgirl outfits taking pictures with tourists. They work alongside Spider-Men, Batmen, and shirtless police officers and firefighters.
But, much like their faux superhero and public service worker counterparts, these showgirls are just women wearing a costume. Actual showgirls disappeared in 2016 when the final Las Vegas showgirl show, 'Jubilee!' at Bally’s, closed after 35 years."
The concept of showgirls slowly died as Las Vegas became the home to top-tier entertainers. Seeing an old-fashioned review with showgirls seems a little silly when Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks, or Katy Perry all have tickets available (just to name a few Las Vegas Strip residencies).
Now, another Las Vegas Strip tradition -- the buffet -- appears to be slowly dying as well. You can blame covid, but the reality is that the beginning of the end for most buffets happened well before tourists began to question whether serving themselves out of shared steam trays was actually a good idea.
Covid caused a lot of buffets to close all around the country and many have not come back. In Las Vegas, the trend had been moving away from traditional low and mid-priced buffets even before the pandemic because those aren't profit centers for the casinos.
The old logic -- and this is why Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International had buffets -- is that cheap, plentiful food kept gamblers from leaving their casino. Now, it's fair to say that casino operators understand that most visitors won't be limiting themselves to whatever resort they're staying in.
That makes buffets, which take up a lot of valuable real estate and are expensive to run, much less attractive to casino operators.
"On the Las Vegas Strip, only eight buffets remain (the Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, The Buffet at Bellagio, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Buffet, the Buffet at Excalibur, the Circus Buffet at Circus Circus, and The Buffet at Luxor) where 18 once stood," Casino.org reported.
It's worth noting that Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, The Buffet at Bellagio, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, and the MGM Grand Buffet are all high-end affairs. These are not the old-school $20-$30 dinner buffets that offered lower-end food, some sketchy shrimp cocktail, and a single carving station featuring some sort of beef.
Instead, five of the eight remaining Las Vegas Strip buffets could be considered destination meals. You would travel from any Caesars property to eat at Bacchanal, a nearly $100 per person meal offering fresh seafood, endless carving stations, and a very high-end experience. The same could also be said of the MGM Grand Buffet, and really anything other than the Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus offerings, which are old-school buffets at value-priced resorts.
The new Resorts World Las Vegas on the north Strip never had a buffet. Instead, it offers a food hall that provides a buffet-like variety with higher-end food and no price cap.
Resort World describes its Famous Foods food hall this way:
"Inspired by the energetic street markets of Southeast Asia, Famous Foods Street Eats features a curated collection of pan-Asian eateries mixed with crave-able concepts by award-winning chefs from around the globe. This new-age dining destination serves up food edutainment with a side of mouthwatering bites and sensational sips sure to tantalize tastebuds," the resort casino shared on its website.
Basically, Famous Foods offers a bunch of small restaurants grouped around tables. You can order at the counter or via QR codes. The setup lets a group tailor their experience to exactly what they want. It's a sort of pay-as-you-go buffet that offers much better (and more diverse) food than all but the few top-tier buffets mentioned above.
"I think when people come to a place like Las Vegas, they still want the convenience of a food court, but they don’t just want to see what they just saw in the airport,” Al Mancini, a Las Vegas food writer, told Casino.org. “Food halls are trying to curate a more upscale, interesting, exciting collection of food.”