Rock & Rita's believes smart business starts at home

Locals can be a hard sell when it comes to trekking to the Strip to dine. But Rock & Rita's Restaurant and Bar is hoping to change that.

The facility opened three months ago at Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Mark Green, the restaurant's co-owner with David Tuttleman, is reaching out to valley residents.

For one thing, "our pricing is very locals-friendly," he says. Guests with local IDs receive two-for-one drinks, and even score a local's card that entitles them to 20 percent off their check.

The menu features American classics "with a twist," served up in a fun and funky setting, Green says.

"It's all-American cuisine pretty much, (and) comfort food," notes Green, who also is co-owner of Kahunaville at Treasure Island.

The menu also includes a roster of burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches from pale ale pork to grilled Cuban, and classic dinner entrees ranging from New England fish and chips to pretzel- and pecan-crusted halibut.

The drink menu includes all of the standards, along with new libations created and served by a staff of international flair bartenders.

The room has eye-catching features ranging from a portrait of the "American Gothic" couple in Kiss makeup to a bisected bus that serves as the bar. Diners also can enjoy sports programs on 27 plasma screens and four jumbo screens.

There's even a children's menu, Green adds.

Rock & Rita's is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. After 10 p.m., the restaurant offers a $5 late-night menu.

Starters: Hot dog sliders, $9.99 for four; an appetizer sampler (nachos, wings, fried mozzarella, chicken fingers and coconut shrimp), $21.99; spinach and artichoke dip with homemade garlic-herb tortilla chips, $7.99

Soups and salads: Pinto bean chicken chili, $4.99 a bowl; creamy bacon fried chicken salad, $8.99; steak salad, $13.99

Burgers and sandwiches: The Ulcerator (a 10-ounce burger with spices, topped with smoked ham, fried onion strings, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and Butt Burnin' Blaze Sauce), $9.99; turkey burger, $8.99; mini sandwich sampler (barbecued pulled pork, beef dip, fried bologna and sloppy Joe), $8.99

Entrees: Ma's Mac and Cheese, $12.99; country-style meatloaf, $14.99; New England fish and chips, $13.99; pretzel- and pecan-crusted halibut, $17.99

Desserts: Smashing Apples (homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream, caramel and cinnamon), $5.99; Chocolate Insanity (triple-chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce, for two), $12.99

Information: 691-5991