Whether you want to cash in like the absentee chefs who've cut juicy deals there or merely build your resume by working your way through multiple high-profile restaurants conveniently situated in a centralized location, you'd better get out to Las Vegas while the getting is good. The frenzied pace of restaurant openings there is about to grind to a halt.
How come? The hotel and gaming companies that drove nonstop expansion are tapped out. Their debt loads are staggering, new investment capital is scarce, and declines in gambling revenue (down 13 percent) and visitations (off six percent) compel a focus on existing operations, not new projects.
But at least the go-go development crowd will go out with a bang this winter with the opening of the $8.5 billion CityCenter project. Its restaurant lineup includes everything from Beso by TV actress Eva Longoria Parker to the U.S. debut of three-Michelin-star Pierre Gagnaire.
Other chefs include Vegas newcomers New York sushi master Masayoshi Takayama and Chicago's Shawn McClain. Also on board: Las Vegas regulars Michael Mina, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Sirio Maccioni, Todd English, Wolfgang Puck and the Light Group, which has made a bundle of money without the use of a “name” celebrity chef.
CityCenter will create 12,000 new jobs in all. If you ever thought Las Vegas was going to be part of your career path, you'd better apply now.