New attractions coming to Southern California casinos in 2022
Southern California tribal casinos went from expansion booms to expansion delays with the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t entirely hinder progress for some projects.
Last year, we saw everything from a new hotel tower to several restaurants added to casino properties across Southern California. In 2022, that progress will continue with a new entertainment center and dining options from celebrity chefs, among a few other things.
Harrah’s Resort Southern California
In July, Harrah’s Resort Southern California announced its partnership with British chef and reality television star Gordan Ramsay to open an in-house Hell’s Kitchen restaurant. The new addition will replace shuttered Italian restaurant, Che Bello. Before the space was an Italian restaurant, it was Harrah’s buffet. It’s become common for casinos to embrace new concepts amid buffet closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This will be the first Hell’s Kitchen location in Southern California and the fourth in the world, following Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Dubai. Ramsay’s menu at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas includes entrées such as prime dry-aged New York strip, crispy skin salmon and beef Wellington priced $32.95-$63.95, with sides at $13.95.
According to a news release from Harrah’s, the new restaurant will seat 332 people and includes a lounge and an elevated bar.
The restaurant is expected to open in spring 2022.
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa announced a partnership with cookbook author and former “Top Chef” contestant Fabio Viviani in July 2021. The Marketplace by Fabio Viviani will replace the former Potrero Canyon Buffet.
The concept is a buffet designed like a high-end food hall, where chefs greet customers who select items from a menu that will be freshly prepared at each stall. The Marketplace offers seven eateries: Mercato Centrale (Italian), Al Comal (Mexican/South American), Pescato (seafood), Pork & Waffles (BBQ and Southern comfort food), Sukiru (Pan-Asian), Prime Cuts (part steakhouse and part Brazilian Churrascaria) and Sweet Things (desserts).
If all of that sounds delicious, hopefully you’ve had the chance to take one of Viviani’s virtual cooking classes to get some insight into how he prepares his dishes.
The original opening date was December 2021, but the Marketplace is now expected to debut in the first quarter of 2022.
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino completed significant construction last year in line with its vision of becoming a luxury brand casino. A 17-floor, 432-room hotel tower, which features a spa and a VIP lounge, which opened in December, is Yaamava’s most recent addition. The hotel’s pool deck, which includes the restaurant Radiance Café and the Helix Bar, will open in spring 2022.
Yaamava’s expansion also saw the opening of multiple new high-limit rooms, three new bars and the Serrano Vista Café. The casino also reopened the Serrano Buffet and moved The Pines Modern Steakhouse into a new space. The Pines has also brought back Sunday brunch.
The fine dining restaurant’s relocation from the casino’s second floor to the first floor, near the entrance to the hotel, left a vacant space in its former home. In an interview at the grand opening of the hotel, General Manager Peter Arceo said the plans for the space are secret for now, but he teased what’s coming by saying it will be more of a “fun, wild factor” as opposed to the luxury experiences offered within the hotel and spa.
“It’ll add another new dimension of entertainment,” Arceo said. “It’s going to be more fun, inviting and interactive.”
The complex will also open an events center in 2022. The 2,800-seat venue has faced setbacks due to supply chain disruptions.
“Like everything else, we’re waiting on supplies that are coming in from overseas,” Arceo said. “But we hope to have some visibility into an opening date in the next month or so.”
Arceo said the room is beautiful and has great acoustics. He said Yaamava’ also plans to offer a VIP experience that isn’t offered at other casinos.
“I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised,” Arceo said. “Once we get a few shows going, it’s going to be the hottest ticket in town, I guarantee you that.”