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Food court giant snaps up space next to SlotZilla

Las Vegas-based HIG Management, owner of 400 food courts around the United States, took one look at the Luna Rossa Ristorante next to the SlotZilla zip line attraction on Fremont Street and knew what it wanted.

The company coveted the 6,000-square-foot restaurant space at Neonopolis. It made Luna Rossa an offer it could not refuse for the unexpired term of the lease.

So, Neonopolis owner Rohit Joshi approved family-owned Luna Rossa Ristorante assigning the lease to the new Neonopolis tenant — International Eatery, a mall-style mini-food court offering specific ordering spots for Mexican, Italian and Asian cuisines, with a dessert station in the works.

“The new tenant had better financials, better strategies,” Joshi said. “They have 400 locations.”

Luna assigned the lease to HIG Management on Nov. 22, 2013, Joshi said. He noted HIG Management agreed to a long-term lease of 10 to 20 years and also acquired the liquor license in the deal.

International Eatery was open for business about five weeks later on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31.

HIG Management invested more than $1.5 million into the eatery, which includes buying out the Luna Rossa lease, renovating the space, adding kitchen equipment and paying for marketing, said Chul Park, an HIG Management representative.

The transition from Luna Rossa to International Eatery has been smooth. The business caters to tourists who want a variety of quick-service, cheaper options, which is a good fit with Fremont Street, Joshi said. Most meals can be purchased for less than $10. For example, the Asian three-entree platter is $7.99, the Italian strombolli is $5.99 and the Mexican taco plate is $7.95.

It also enjoys a great location for pedestrian traffic — right by SlotZilla, which is expected to open this spring amid a lot of buzz.

“It’s prime location. We’re near East Fremont and along the Fremont Street Experience,” Park said. “You want to be where there’s high foot traffic and impulse-buying where people smell the food and then get a quick bite to eat.”

The International Eatery’s Neonopolis neighbors on Fremont Street include Heart Attack Grill, Denny’s and Banger Brewing.

Joshi said his security has informed him that there is more foot traffic into International Eatery in one day than during an entire week at Luna Rossa.

HIG Management owns many other restaurants around Las Vegas, including China Max, Dino’s Little Italy, Berry &Berry and TJ’s Taco Bar at Hawaiian Marketplace on the Strip, and Chicken Now at the Venetian and Premium Outlets South.

Luna Rossa has a location at The Village at Lake Las Vegas and another opening soon at The District at Green Valley Ranch Resort.

Contact Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.

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