Knights fever swept through every aspect of Las Vegas life in 2018, including what, where and how we ate and drank. Whether you were at home, a neighborhood watering hole or on the Strip, there was always an opportunity to support the team when grabbing a bite or a sip.
Vegas Golden Knights cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay were the most popular wines of their varietals throughout the year at Total Wine & More in Henderson, said Ken Yepsen, store manager. The cabernet and chardonnay sell for $15.99 and the VGK sparkling wine for $55.99. Station Casinos also offered the wines to its card-club members. “The Vegas Golden Knights wine bottle giveaways were among our most popular Boarding Pass card promotions we’ve ever done,” said Lori Nelson, vice president of corporate communications for Station Casinos. Nelson said Station had cabernet, sauvignon blanc, a red blend, Chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, pinot grigio and zinfandel, some before they were available in stores. “We know that many of our guests chose not to open their bottles,” she said, “as they preferred to keep the collection as a memento of the inaugural and amazing season.” The wines were produced by Knights owner Bill Foley’s Foley Family Wines; other options are available at foleyfoodandwinesociety.com.
PT’s does the Stanley Cup
Plenty of hockey players are beer drinkers, and PT’s Pubs, which has 60 locations in Nevada, honored the team with a beer-mug promotion. In celebration of the Knights’ participation in the Stanley Cup Final, the chain sold 24-ounce trophy-replica beer mugs filled with Budweiser or Bud Lite for $15, with refills during hockey games available for $3. Jimmy Wadhams, vice president of tavern operations for Golden Entertainment Inc., said the company sold thousands of the mugs, is offering them now through the regular season and plans to have them during the playoffs.
Wanna eat a puck?
VGK-themed promotions abounded at local restaurants and bars, with puck-shaped items among the most popular — including peanut-butter-and-chocolate pucks at Bouchon Bakery at The Venetian; chocolate puck pastries at Chef Flemming’s Bake Shop in Henderson; sandwiches of double chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream at Cream; and a caramel milkshake with vanilla-frosted rim, black and gold candies, whipped cream and caramel drizzle topped with a hockey puck cake at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian. Mixologists created cocktails that honored the Knights, including the boozy blueberry McFleury at Born and Raised; smoky cocktail served on a mini ice rink and under a knight’s helmet at the Mandarin Bar at Mandarin Oriental/Skybar at the Waldorf Astoria; Power Play with an edible gold and cocoa VGK logo at Juniper Cocktail Lounge at Park MGM; and Knightcap, served in a gold dust-garnished glass at the Speakeasy at the Mob Museum. Other themed creations included a sushi roll at Zuma in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; a special collection of Ethel M Chocolates; nachos at Nacho Daddy; logo latte art at Bruno’s Taco Bar on Fort Apache Road; and the VGK Pizza at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at Downtown Summerlin, which Puck himself created with Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Doughnuts for shutouts
One of the most successful Golden Knights dining promotions has been Krispy Kreme’s offer of a dozen free doughnuts to everyone who attends a home shutout victory. Lincoln Spoor, whose company Feel Good Brands operates six local Krispy Kremes, says he was looking for a sponsorship deal that wouldn’t cost him the “hundreds of thousands, if not a million dollars” the team was talking about for bigger deals. The giveaway, born when a team rep noted that the doughnuts on his trucks looked like zeroes, fit his price range, but had one big drawback. “It’s the promotion you can’t talk about on game day. No one can talk about a shutout because people are superstitious,” he says. After six home shutouts last season, however, word has spread. These days, if a game is entering the final minutes with the opposing team scoreless, you just might hear a chant of “We want doughnuts” erupt through the T-Mobile. The highest redemption so far has been about 4,500 dozen. But Spoor says, “I’d love it if everybody came in.”
Chocolate flower power
Sure, Marc-Andre Fleury has three Stanley Cup rings to show for his time in Pittsburgh. But did anyone in the Steel City ever memorialize him in chocolate? We didn’t think so! For an honor like that you need a town like Las Vegas and a pastry team like the one at Bellagio. It took the pastry chefs at Bellagio Patisserie approximately five weeks to complete the 5-foot-tall sculpture. They began by covering a Styrofoam core with 20 pounds of Rice Krispies. From there, they used pounds of white, dark and milk chocolate, as well as fondant and sugar paper for the lettering of his Golden Knights uniform. Chef Yamilet Hillers even painted an exact replica of Fleury’s custom helmet. There’s no way to know how many fans viewed the piece, but Fleury, who first heard about it from a friend in Canada, made it a point to check it out. “He stopped by with his whole family and expressed how excited, thankful and flattered he was,” Hillers says. “It was great and very rewarding.”
River on ice
If any single restaurant or bar has benefited from the Golden Knights’ success, it’s MacKenzie River Pizza in City National Arena. Owned by Golden Knights principal Bill Foley’s Glacier Restaurant Group and located in the team’s practice facility, it has shown every Golden Knights game from Day One. But it faced stiff competition from nearby drinking and dining options at Downtown Summerlin, Red Rock Resort and beyond. As fans began taking advantage of the team’s open practice policy, however, it became popular among those diehards, not only during practice, but on game nights. By last New Year, just about every seat was full whenever the Knights played, and general manager Jason Anderson was on the phone with Montana trying to find tables and chairs to accommodate the growing crowds. That excitement, which peaked during the playoffs, has carried over to this year, although a new reservation policy makes it easier to score a table without showing up hours before the puck drops.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.
Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or Al Mancini at Amancini@reviewjournal.com.