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Raider Puppet? Bedazzled helmet? New tavern has it all.

Updated April 2, 2021 - 1:28 pm

My longtime Vegas buddy and Tony Cordasco whispered it through his blue-paper face cover.

“Hey, Katsie, look over there,” said the man we call Dasco, a veteran brand consultant and media personality. “What’s Terry Fator doing here?”

An unexpected question, given that we were at the Wednesday afternoon ribbon-cutting of the Raiders Tavern & Grill at M Resort. Fator is a Strip performing veteran, currently the venriloquial headliner at New York-New York.

But there was indeed a ventriloquist, David Michael, with his bearded Raider Puppet figure, hanging on the periphery. Once I gathered my composure, having fallen victim to a laughing fit, I asked about this act.

“I’m the Raider Puppet of the Raider Nation family,” Michael-as-Raider Puppet said. “We want the Raiders to hire us to walk around and make the children happy at Raiders’ stadium.”

As I noted to Michael, and the puppet, there will definitely be a response from the children.

Raiders President Marc Badain also encountered this duo.

As Raider Puppet, Michael told him, “We’re trying to audition for a job to work at Raiders stadium.”

“Well, good luck with that,” Badain said.

“I thought I was talking to the right man,” Raider Puppet answered.

“As long as it’s clean,” Badain said, clearly grinning under his Raiders mask.

Say this for Michael and his puppet, they threw a Hail Mary pass. We’ll see if they connect. But suffice to say, Fator has nothing to worry about.

Silver, Swarovski & Black

Among the dozens of Raiders helmets displayed around the tavern is a Swarovski crystal piece valued at more than $7,500. The item is among several helmets in various sizes and styles on the team’s Raiderimage.com retail website.

There, you can also find a $3,000 Swarovski crystal jacket featuring the pirate logo and Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. This set is recommended for home games, not in such road outposts as Kansas City or Pittsburgh.

Playing Vegas

Ex-Raiders great and new Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson agreed with the contention that Las Vegas is the Raiders of cities.

“Oh, yeah. The Raiders are all about being pioneers, and Vegas is a pioneer town,” Woodson said during a side chat at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting. “For a pro football franchise to be in Vegas, coming her, after it being so taboo for so many years, is great. It was so taboo that nobody even talked about it around the league.”

Woodson continued, “But Mark Davis was set on making a change with a new stadium, following Al Davis’ dream, and Vegas is a perfect fit for an NFL Team. It’s a great time to be a Raider.”

That menu

Items not on the Raiders menu but should be, at Raiders Tavern: Silver & Blackened Chicken, Sea(bass ) of Hands, the Willie and Tim Brown Trout, Oysters in the Art Shell, the Not-Blanda Spicy Fried Pickles, Plunkett Donuts, Tatum Tots and Stickum Toffee Pudding. I ran the latter by Badain, and he grinned, saying, “I will see this menu when you do.”

Quick tavern take

Love the decor, a mix of refined glass effects, more than 40 HD TVs and a lots of Raiders memorability, merchandise and images of such greats as Ted Hendricks, Jim Otto, Marcus Allen, Ken Stabler, Cliff Branch and Jim Plunkett. Love the hours, 11 a.m.-7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-7 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Ideal for a late pop-in after a spin through Ravello Lounge.

Naturally, we would also love some form of live entertainment at Raiders Tavern … aside from Raider Puppet. More to come on entertainment for this space, and elsewhere at The M.

Who Was Where

One Steakhouse at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas was sizzling on Tuesday night. Davis was seated with Vegas resort and philanthropic legend Elaine Wynn, Top Rank Boxing royalty Bob and Lovee Arum, and Wynn’s close friend and Vice President of Player Development for Caesars Entertainment John Pucci.

JC Hospitality Group President and CEO Richard “Boz” Bosworth also stopped over. Davis says this was not a business-power meeting, “We’re all friends,” he said this week. The Raiders owner went on and on about his steak, too. A cool hang for all involved.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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